For the past two weeks, I’ve been using Zagat to Go, the iPhone version of the popular restaurant review network. Wherever I am in the U.S., one tap of the screen will give me a list of the nearest restaurants, their ratings for food, decor and service, and the average cost of a meal. A second tap will lead me to a page with a photo, the address and phone number, customers’ comments and the hours of operation. A third tap will map the route from my current location to the restaurant, connect me to the restaurant on my phone, make an online reservation or take me to the restaurant’s Web site.

Try doing all that with the phone book.

Zagat costs a few bucks, but other applications – Yelp, Local Picks, UrbanSpoon and more – offer some of the same features at no cost. AroundMe will tell me where to find the nearest ATM, coffee house, gas station, hospital and pharmacy. Such aps as Showtimes will list the movies showing near me, tell me where and when, and show me the trailer as well.

If you don’t want a phone that is linked to government satellites, this may not be for you. But the rush of information made possible by GPS – the Global Positioning System – is amazing. It also save times, reduces hassles and finds what you need.

And GPS-based mapping systems may save you the embarrassment of getting lost – or the bother associated with folding that darned map so it fits in the glove box.