I’ve been around this industry for a long time. Such a long time, in fact, that when I was at university the PC hadn’t been invented and the computer which drew pictures needed a separate room all to itself (it was a DEC PDP-11 and it played Lunar Lander with a light pen and Space Wars by toggling switches on the computer box).
So it takes a lot to impress me, yet Google Earth has done just that. It is wrong to give all the kudos to Google, as they bought the existing Keyhole Earth program (and company), but Google did make it a free download. Along with the stunning graphics, and the amazing detail if you are lucky enough to be looking at a high-resolution mapped area, the software is open enough to allow user contributions of locations, live overlays or even detailed 3D buildings. (Loads more at Google Earth Hacks.)