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Stephen Lawler  

Microsoft's Stephen Lawler offers a tour of Virtual Earth that not only reveals the power and potential of the software itself, but also gives a global glimpse of the new virtual frontier of digital globes, the 3D Web and the metaverse.

Lawler also explores the enormous effort it takes to create the fluid blending and shifting between the multiple views and resolutions of Virtual Earth. From the satellites and airplanes that gather photo data for a top-down view to the ground vehicles and headgear-wearing pedestrians who canvas the ground for an eye-level perspective -- all of it represents a monumental effort of logistics and mechanics.

"The cool bird's-eye views were enough of a draw in the previous version, but the 3D is downright addictive. This probably would be enough to please most people even without the local search, maps, and wealth of extra features."

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