3D Satellite Sytle Realistic Earth Tutorial - c/o BlenderGuru
I recently discovered this tutorial by Andrew Price the creator of the blenderguru website and was amazed at the cool effects he managed to attain within blender while designing a "view from space" of a realistic earth.
This got me to thinking provided you had a good resolution to your map and had gone to the trouble of generating a height map this same effect could be done on the scale of any of our fantasy maps. Currently im working under and NDA for a game project, but I would love to see if you guys come up with something cool.
Blender is a free program so its available to all.
Here is the link to "How to Create a Realistic Earth" in blender http://www.blenderguru.com/create-a-realistic-earth/
Enjoy and feel free to post your awesome looking maps if you get the chance to complete this!!