Elgene made an entry about Google Earth. I tried to use the program. But I decided against it when I learned that I had to download some software first before I can use it. Then I remembered Wikimapia.
My brother introduced me to this website a few months ago when I was so desperate to find my way to the Antipolo RTC. I was pinch-hitting for my OLA buddy in a hearing in that city. I talked to the client and she gave me directions. But I still felt uneasy going to an unfamiliar place. Then Wikimapia saved the day.
Wikimapia is a website with one large world map wherein you can click on the different countries. Within each country, you can also click on the different cities. You can see the different roads, streets, establishments and even houses on each place. The zoom feature helps you get a closer look at the different places. Each identified location is marked by a box and you can simply put the mouse pointer over that boxed area to know the place you're looking at. It looks crowded, confusing and complicated. But it's pretty easy to use. You just have to get used to it.
An interesting feature of Wikimapia is that it allows users to mark the different places, similar to the way information is added on the Wikipedia websites. Once in a while, you'll get funny location markers such as "Yuseco St. dating Tayabas St., yung mga orig na tao jan ang tawag Tayabas, yung dayo Yuseco...gets?" or "Dito binugbog si Inchan at Benjamin nung 2nd year sila high school sila! Gabi na umuwe! Tumakbo kami! Haha!" and the usual "bahay namin."
I'm assuming that Google Earth is a better and more accurate program considering that Wikimapia actually uses Google maps. But for something free and very accessible, I'd say that Wikimapia is a good alternative. While there's the risk of getting mismatched places and names, so far, the program has been reliable for me. It helped me get to the Antipolo RTC. Perhaps, you'll also find some use for it.
You can explore the website here.