[UPDATE 27 October 2008: If you're looking for the official Google Earth for the iPhone app story - which was released 26th of October, read this post. The post below was another iPhone app that looked like Google Earth, but was published by Earthscape in August.]
Last May I published a video demonstration of a cool iPhone application I saw at Where 2.0 which looked like Google Earth. The video demo was such a huge hit, Earthscape – the company who made it – quickly made it into a product you can now buy at the Apple store (available for $10). I purchased the app a couple of days ago and have just now had time to make a new video demo:
A couple of things to note: Earthscape has a 3D terrain model for the Earth, and they have high resolution satellite or aerial photos for some areas – especially in the US. But, you won’t find as much high res data as Google Earth. They have included a “Wikipedia” layer which includes placemarks to places from Wikipedia which when clicked on provide a summary of the related site. In the earlier demo I saw last May, they had the ability to use the iPhone accelerometer to tilt and rotate. But, the released app doesn’t include that feature. Tom Churchill, CEO of Earthscape, told me they found the UI was confusing to some people. But, they hope to put the feature in an update to the app in the future. Given the limited utility at this time (no KML support yet, no search capability, and no accelerometer support), I’m not sure how many people will buy it for $10. But, it is a cool app to see on the iPhone. I hope it inspires Google to port a version of Google Earth to the iPhone (if they haven’t already been working on it for months).
Here is Earthscape’s video demo of the new application.