Save Gas, Take Google Maps and Street View For A Road Trip

Google Maps gives a very helpful overview map while Google Street View provides a handy panorama of an area. What if there were a way to combine the two so you could plot out a course and then use it to take a virtual road trip? What if there wasn’t only one way but there were at least 3 different approaches to the Google Road Trip?

1) Geoquake Driving Simulator

The Geoquake driving simulator takes their Flash-powered 2D driving simulator and overlays it on top of Google Maps to get another 2D driving simulator but this time on Google Maps. On Google Maps, however, it can’t detect if you’re driving off road or crashing into cars or buildings, so basically you can drive the car anywhere you’d like over the Google Map of an area. You can change the map from satellite or map view, or both combined. You can also choose between a couple vehicles which are controlled by the arrow keys primarily.

They also have a 3D driving simulator which uses the birds-eye perspective for Google Maps. I found this one a lot easier to drive on.

2) Google Earth Plug-in Driving Simulator

This simulator requires the Google Earth 3D plugin but with it, it gives you a very interesting view of what your drive would look like. You enter a start and finish location and then let it start. It will drive the demo car along the roads, following the directions that Google Maps provides, to reach the destination. You can pause the drive at any time and look around. You can also speed the drive up to 32x time lapse so you can simulate the drive in a fraction of the time.

3) Google Road Trip Demo

This third Google Road Trip Demo is from the Yahoo! HackU 2010 event and it combines Google Maps with Google Street View to accomplish the road trip. You enter your starting location and destination and then start the trip. The little orange indicator will move along the route to indicate your progress on the map and the Google Street View pane will progress along to keep up simulating a (jagged) road trip.

With gas prices in the $4 range now, this might become the only type of road trip anybody takes any more. Which one of these three was your favorite? My favorite was the second one. Know of any other great mash-ups like these?

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