Very well put, I think, Joscelin.
If we look at things like Worldwide Telescope, we can see that via their user-made tours, they saw the potential in storytelling years ago.
Similarly, the Digital Narratives project in Microsoft Research has also demonstrated their understanding that maps, photosynths, and other media can make a compelling storytelling experience.
Virtual Earth/Bing Maps 3D used to have support for touring a collection of locations on the globe and you could customize what angle the camera looked at the map when it zoomed in and whether it rotated around the spot, etc. and also superimpose a single photo per location while playing back the tour while pausing at that location. Hopefully with this upcoming return to 3D Bing Maps with WebGL, they'll resurrect that touring ability as I think that it is the basis for a compelling storytelling experience and if you could transition into a synth from swooping down on the globe, that would be fantastic.