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I might recommend modifying the plugin for some better noise/slip modelling. That publishes the real position of the robot, maybe add some noise in in accordance with the noise you see on your encoders. Modelling accurate weight/inertial/acceleration/coef. of friction of materials of the robot and environment will be critical for gazebo to do its job and give you reasonable slipping. With those 2 things you can probably get something pseudo-realistic, but I sort of doubt the slipping will be consistent since I don't believe anything in gazebo models multi-point-of-contact tires effectively.

http://docs.ros.org/jade/api/gazebo_plugins/html/gazebo__ros__diff__drive_8cpp_source.html