Top 5 Map Apps

NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- It turns out that a lot of you are using your smartphones for directions. Apple ( AAPL) received so much criticism after removing Google Maps in its iOS update, that CEO Tim Cook felt compelled to apologize.

Fortunately, Google Maps has an iPhone app now. And there are countless other map apps, too.

But there's no need to navigate your way through the app store TheStreet has given them a test drive and recommends these five for helping you get from point A to B.

Whether you're taking the freeway, the subway, walking, or hang gliding, these apps will help you find your way.

Beat The Traffic

If you've ever lived in Los Angeles, you know what it's like to be stuck in traffic. If you hate it, you should probably leave. Going 5 MPH on the 405 is inevitable.

For people in other cities, there's hope. You'll be the first one to work if you've downloaded the Beat The Traffic app. (The early bird gets the worm). You can use your current location or save your favorite routes to see a map with real-time traffic data. There's also the ability to watch traffic cams to see the situation firsthand and receive alerts when there's a delay.

If you're already on the road, use the app to report an incident. But pull over, first!

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 4.3 or later. It is also available for Android.

Waze

There's a social media site for everything these days...including traffic. Commiserate with your friends on Waze. (Select "frustrated" from the mood section, if you want to give your car a red face and a frown). Use messaging to tell everyone how you really feel.

Waze uses a voice-activated GPS system to help you navigate your way around town. Share your location on Facebook ( FB) or use the app to carpool by sending a "location request." Stay away from the Wazes with the "zombie" faces.

You can also use the app to find the nearest gas station, look up Yelp ( YELP) reviews or avoid accident scenes.

And no worries about wasting time behind the wheel. You'll rise to the top of the scoreboard when you log the most driving time. You know you've made it when you're Waze Royalty; your avatar gets a crown.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 4.3 or later. It is also available for Android.

HopStop

So you're trying to get to your cousin's engagement party in the middle of New Jersey, but you have no idea how to get there from Manhattan. What should you do?Check out HopStop! The app will walk you through all the steps, displaying directions for a train, car or bus. It also tells me it will take 15 hours to walk there...or four hours by bicycle.

Get lost? No problem. HopStop uses your current location to guide you. Turn left this time! With subway maps, bus schedules, and taxi costs, this app's a must have for any urban dweller.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 4.3 or later. It is also available for Android.

The Transit App

If you like to take public transit everywhere, this app's for you. The easy-to-use app readily displays nearby bus schedules. Two minutes until the next M5 comes by. If you're confused about which bus to take, you can ype in your destination address and the app will show you which route will get you there first.

You can upgrade for 99 cents and access schedules offline (or underground). Check it out while you're waiting for the subway. Powered by Foursquare, the app uses the location service's maps to guide you. Check in when you get there.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Google Maps

And now for the most beloved map app of all time...Google Maps.

When Apple updated its operating system last fall, users felt lost...literally. Once Apple Maps replaced Google Maps, finding your way around town would never be the same. How dare they!

Fortunately... Google ( GOOG) came out with a maps app for iOS. The app uses real-time data, so you can find the quickest route around the city when you're in a pinch.

The app allows you to find walking directions, look up public transit, and use satellite images to see what your apartment looks like from the sky. Google Maps, we never knew how much we loved you, until you were gone. We'll never take you for granted again.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.1 or later. It is also available for Android.

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