The native Maps app is great for searching for directions or essentially consuming basic information from the map. It definitely lacks much of the functionality of Google Maps when accessed through a browser. So, if you're looking for more than just directions, go for the Safari-based version.
With latitude, see other users' locations on a map. It's the 21st century chaperone! ;o)
(Disclaimer: while Google Latitude will show you the location of your kids on a field trip, we still recommend human chaperones.)
Students can virtually tour anywhere on earth. While maps can't be created directly from the app, if logged in with a Google account, anything stored in My Maps can be overlaid on top of the Google Earth imagery.