Thanks for your input on the IPad, it sounds like you have it figured out to do pretty much exactly what I wanted. I have a Droid phone and there is a map app available that will let you cache google earth maps of specific areas and pull them up later with no cell phone signal. It works great, but the screen on my droid is too small.
I have been putting off buying an IPad, but you have pushed me over the edge now. Thanks alot for costing me money