NASA World Wind
This is cool. Google recently let us have the excellent and free Google Earth, which is great fun and also an educational tool for young and old alike. I often sit down with my daughter and fly around the world planning the next dream holiday.
NASA are probably as well known as Google but probably don’t have quite the same sort of marketing muscle but their World Wind application could well be better than Google Earth and best yet both of these programs are free
It’s a bit of a monster download weighing in at 180 MB but it is well worth the wait. Upon first starting the program it looks remarkable similar to Google Earth with a similar GUI that lets you drag the Earth around and zoom in with the mouse wheel. The earth visualization is much more 3D than Google Earth, you can actually go into the Grand Canyon for example.
It also has some nice extras like displaying flags over countries and being tied in to the Wikipedia so that you can click on a selection of landmarks and be taken straight to the relevant wiki page about it.
There is a lot more I could say about NASA World Wind, like the Scientific Visualization Studio, the different Landsats and the WMS Browser but you’re probably best getting it your self as I’m sure there are a wealth of features that I’ve missed.