A Phd student at the University of Calgary’s Interactions Laboratory has come up with some pretty cool new interactive tools for Google Earth and Warcraft III (not at the same time). He’s using a tabletop environment to control how you interact with Google Earth. You can do much more hands on type interaction with the table setup. I think it’s a more natural environment, or much more paper map-like, than some of the mouse/keyboard setups we currently use. It’s worth checking out the videos (bottom right of his site or mirrored here). They give a good idea of the types of things you can do with this new type of system. I particularly like the Warcraft III “Command and Control” system demo.
And really, it’s all about kickin’ butt in video games anyways, right?