What a great topic. Some good links and placemarks, and super trivia about digital imaging!
I was seriously addicted to Google Earth since before they bought it from Keyhole. Was one factor in my decision to invest in Google
. Their forum was for a while, a source of wonder about our planet. You could read about it, then fly there. But after Google made it free, after a while, the forum was flooded with lame posts like "I got me first kiss HEAR!".
I mostly see what I need on Google Maps now, but I discovered a great trip planning process that seems to require both Maps and Earth. Maps lets you choose alternative routes easily, just by dragging the blue line. Then if you save to personal maps you get a KML link that lets you use GE to fly down the road. Set the tour options at 300-500 meters altitude, set the speed to about 65mph, (so that the minutes counter gives you a fair estimate of the miles traveled) lean it back to about 45 degrees, and get a nice preview of what those little side-roads are like. (the pop-up tour control in the lower left lets you speed over the boring parts.) It is really nice to prepare you for one of those nasty mistakes in the Android Navigator route instructions.