3D Virtual HoustonCame across this interesting Newsweek article on the back and forth arms race between Google and Microsoft in online maps. Microsoft has just introduced 3D satellite maps for 15 cities, including Houston. You can fly around between buildings, which are rendered amazingly accurately (I put it in the slowest but most detailed mode). Microsoft makes money by placing floating billboards in the sky over paying customers.
After a slow install process (only works in Internet Explorer), I checked it out, and they're pretty cool, albeit extremely limited. As far as I can tell, the only portions of Houston they have in 3D are downtown and midtown, which is a little lame. The Texas Medical Center, Reliant Stadium, Greenway Plaza, and Uptown are all flat as a pancake. Dallas seemed to have a lot more buildings in 3D, although still broadly spread in the area around downtown. I recommend trying it out, but the controls take a little getting used to. For your convenience, I was able to create links to pretty cool views of downtown from the southeast side near Toyota Center and from the west side. Huh. I just tried those links out that they generated for me, and they sent me to central Washington State. I guess it is beta software. Oh well, play around and enjoy. Try the "Houston" link in the left sidebar, and "Las Vegas" is pretty cool too.