MapQuest and Google Maps are cool, but I rarely use them to find hotels or places to eat. I know they offer that info, but the problem isn’t that I don’t want it. The problem is that I don’t want it… while I’m sitting in front of my laptop. I generally want info on a place to eat when I’m out on the road.

Enter Dash.

Dash Navigation crowd sources traffic information, allowing you to know when traffic is bogged down up ahead, alternative routes, etc. In Japan, they paid millions to get “smart highways.” Dash can do the same thing, with only a few customers on the net.

Since Dash is connected to the internet, it allows you to enter searches for goods and services in your area. The interesting thing is that, while I may be interested in Starbucks in a couple of narrowly defined things in my life, Dash can combine all the searches to determine some interesting facts. At Web2Expo, Dash’s Mark Williamson showed how Dash could tell Starbucks exactly where, on my highway system, they should put their next store. They can base this on all the searches of all the people on the net.

There are other services that rely on GPS and geo-sensitive content. Trackstick is one of my favorites. It’s basically a glorified thumb drive, with a built in GPS that tracks your location on a set schedule. You can then download that information, mash it together with Google Maps, and see a route map.

I’ve always wanted to do this, since I travel so much. I think it’d be cool to strap a trackstick on for a couple years and just see what the results are. I’m sure there’d be little globs of activity in and around those places I frequent most.

I wonder is Dash allows you to download / mash your routes. Hmmm…

Last, but not least, there is BrightKite, a social media application that allows you to “check in” at various locations. You can share that information with your friends, but you can also see what activity there is in your area.

Are you in a new town and want to find some new business contacts? BrightKite might be able to help. Want to share photos of your travels, snap them with your cell and they’ll be posted to the BK account in seconds.

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