So, I actually signed up just to comment on this feature. Hopefully it won't be the last thing I'd need to comment on.
Anyway, I think this is a nifty little feature, but some improvements could be made. For example, I think the seam should be behind you when you begin, not in front, that way you don't have to self-adjust the texture to look proper when you start it up. Another thing is to readd the lines that appear during normal gameplay without a texture over said texture. Not sure why they got removed, but they're always one of my favorite parts of the game, since it gives me an idea of where to go.
Also, I tried with a panorama display of Seattle earlier as well, and that looked pretty awesome going downhill towards the streets below. I think you guys could benefit from getting professional panoramas made up in the right size and just releasing those. The reason I say getting them made up is the Wikipedia image doesn't exactly loop properly, so you'd need to look at getting one that does. The added bonus of panorama is they'd display on the sphere perfectly.
And any chances of having animated GIF support added? It'd be fun to look at, even if it'd potentially crash any and all computers that use it.