Not content with playing with World Wind (referenced in an earlier post), I see now that Keyhole are offering a commercial version of the same technology – or at least very similar technology. Google bought Keyhole last year, so they now have some mighty computing resources behind them.
Keyhole wins on ease of use (faster, less interruptions while pulling down map data, usually faster downloads courtesy of Google’s impressive servers) and scope (more aerial maps of more cities) but loses a bit on general detail – planet-level maps are only down to a resolution of 1 Km or so, while World Wind gets down to 30m outside the big cities.
Also, the interface for moving around the globe seems slightly more refined with World Wind – I kept finding Ireland was upsidedown when I rotated the globe in Keyhole, and rarely had that problem with World Wind.
Keyhole is $30/year subscription (7 day free trial) and given that the maps are being continually updated, this is probably good value. Worth a look at the very least…
Update: It looks like Google have re-branded this now as Google Earth, free for personal use!