Have you ever thought that Google earth is the ultimate thing and nothing can beat Google maps. Well, in almost everything, free software is slow to catch, but when it stands, it does. One reason is its coded by people who do not like money but want to code so that the software becomes better.
There is this thing called Marble, http://edu.kde.org/applications/all/marble which I am using and its quiet good. Its just a desktop globe. Thats it, connects with open street map and other stuff so that you can use it to learn, know about pathways in city and so on.
Here is the screen shot of it showing the place where I live:
Not bad enough!