Danny Moon, co-founder of UpNext, a free smart phone application that gives people a 3-D way to navigate cities, said that as people continue to use location-based services, they're going to want different ways to visualize all the new kinds of data that's available.
"Maps are no longer simply a way to get from point A to point B," he said. "It's more about showing you what your environment is."
So instead of giving users a static grid map, UpNext offers a 3-D interactive map that virtually drops users onto city streets. Users can tap on specific buildings to see which venues they house or rotate the map to give a different view. UpNext is in four U.S. cities, but is working on expanding to other areas.
While common grid maps are helpful in their simplicity, he said that as people continue to explore new places with their phones as the point of entry, it's helpful for them to visualize their surroundings, including the places beyond their field of vision.
Navigon, a German navigation software company, also offers an iPhone app (for prices starting at $89.99) with 3-D panorama and terrain views that rely on NASA data.
"You're really seeing people being able to almost step into something and really see what's around them," Moon said.