3D globe inspiration
Some people have mistakenly said that the Metaverse itself was the inspiration, but it wasn’t for any of us as far as I know. John [Hanke] has publicly stated that the panoptic 3D “Earth” application from Snow Crash was the actual inspiration for him. Mark Aubin has said that the Powers of Ten movie and flipbook were an inspiration to him. I’d honestly been toying with the idea of 3D globes before I read Snow Crash around 1994. So I think this is more a case of multiple people converging at the right place and the right time with similar ideas.
If he were in some normal, stable part of the world like lower Manhattan, this would actually work in 3-D. Instead, he’s got to put up with two-dimensional satellite imagery.