AOL-owned MapQuest has been available as a free application for Blackberry users and now iPhone users are getting the goods as well. While MapQuest has been available on the mobile web, apps are usually faster and more user-friendly.
One of the highlights of the app is a "carousel" of options shown at the bottom of a map. It offers icons for things like gas stations and hotels. Click on an icon and find nearby locations of the selected category.
Below is a map of an area in north/west Raleigh. The icon for "coffee" has been selected.
The carousel is easy to use and quite convenient. You can select multiple categories to display and simply click again to stop showing a category. It will only show what's in the Map View, so zoom in or out to expand or decrease the locations shown on your screen.
The app, however, needs a lot of work in the search department. The app consistently returns a "No Search Results Found" button - for everything from "Cedar Point" to "Washington Monument" to "Las Vegas."
You also need to sign into an account if you want to access "My Places" features. Registering and signing into accounts via mobile phone is a pain.
Right now, the app is perfect for finding nearby coffee, hotels, traffic conditions, etc. Hopefully in the future we'll see better search and more functions without needing a MapQuest account.