Well I said I would, so I stopped at Target on my way home from work and picked up an Xbox 360 controller to use with Virtual Earth 3D. Well I’m happy to report it works very well. Windows XP SP2 seemed to have the drivers installed for the controller so I didn’t have to install anything to get it working. Then I just fired up Virtual Earth 3D and away I went. Navigating the digital earth was much easier than using the mouse or keyboard. You pan around with the left stick, rotate the map using the right stick (left/right), the view angle with the right stick (up/down), zoom in using left trigger and zoom out using right trigger, rotate map north using the A button, and change the map speed with the X/Y buttons. The only thing I didn’t notice was a way to change the map type from the controller (roads/aerial/hybrid). Other than that it worked flawlessly.
I never had any plans to buy an Xbox 360, but a digital earth application like VE 3D gets me to at least buy their controller. I tried to use the controller with Google Earth and ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer with no luck.