Crysis engine is pretty awesome isn't it !
We have a discussion about 3D over and over tho. The salient points are that its great but unless you can generate the 3D stuff your limited to what your given. This is what I think limits the WotC 4th ed thing that they have coming out - we shall see of course but the only people to have even partially fixed that is Google with their sketchup and the gallery of stuff that I have seen with that has been real poor unless its buildings which are not too bad.
Terrain is something that you can in theory calculate because its made by physics. So thats what GeoTerSys (GTS) is all about. ViewingDale is a 2D browser and is going to stay mainly 2D because people can draw on a bit of paper, photo it or scan it, or like us, use some paint packages to get a map. Very few people do 3D modeling so effectively at the sort of quality that we do 2D.
Crysis and the games boyz are numerous, paid, working real hard and are experts and can generate that content. So what I believe is required is a realistic high res 2D world with 2D mapping on top. The easiest way to get really high res 2D terrain is to calculate it in 3D and do what those guys at RP are doing and snap shot it from above.
Fractals can take you so far but ultimately they are kinda random and the world isn't. After a point it shows badly. If your relying on Crysis then your limited to what they come up with.
Part of my December challenge was messin about dropping rock height maps about and seeing what they look like rendered. The idea might be to provide 2D icons with associated height maps. Sure the height maps might be rough, cant have lateral holes in them and so on but may provide a way to get 2.5D mapping. Maybe you drop a castle tower onto 3D terrain using a 2D program like ViewingDale, view that in 3D and it gets you 3D terrain + rough 3D castle tower. Its too early to say whether thats a going option which is why I was trying it out.
Presumably the RP in your handle is not initials ! RPTools is a great VTT. It has some zoom in it but I believe that its limited /x10 or so last I knew ? (I dont follow it closely). I know Trevor keeps saying that he will update it but I don't think its built with that sort of architecture. Google Earth / WorldWind has excellent zoom but does not have much editing capability. Its not really built with the architecture required for complex 2D mapping.
My personal opinion is that its going to get larger terrain as time goes on. HandsomeRob has fantastic maps up on google earth today, Anna has that great atlas coming along, Im sure there are many more and then there is myself + MeDem doing the Tolkien one too. Once you have extensive terrain in high detail you are going to have to rethink how you handle these large areas in a VTT if you haven't planned for it. RP has gone for ease of use, auto visual reveal and fog of war, numerous other stuff but I am squarely heading down the massive campaign world mapped out, go anywhere at any scale, editable with mapping ability etc.
You should join up to this iCon 2008 thing and see them all and have a play with the whole lot. You just need broadband and a microphone headset.