All of which raises a broader question in my mind — let’s say you know nothing about GIS but you’ve been impressed with Google Earth. So impressed, in fact, that you’re inspired to contribute your own creations for the greater good of the Google Earth community. Given the conversion tools now available, what’s the best application to be creative with? What is the cheapest? What is the best value for money?
It’s an open question, and I don’t know the answer. I’m aware of ArcGIS (now with a 60-day evaluation CD), as well as SketchUp, for Windows and Mac, (free trial), Amber iQ (with, you guessed it, a 15-day free trial), Google Earth Pro Beta (7-day trial!) and then I run out of ideas. Could GIS pros be so kind as to help us neophytes with a leg up on the product offerings? Cheapness is definitely a virtue for a first application, given most of us are not about to get a student discount on ESRI GIS software.