For a long time I have hoped to better software to make maps. Most of the time I make an image or bunch of images in Curious World Maps then animate them in after effects. Most of the maps I create are elements for after effects projects. From the little bit I have play with Google Earth Pro I found it to be very limited in what data I could highlight and use. There are some open source programs that use GIS data that I would like to try but haven't had the time.
So what do you use? Is Curious really the best? I am looking for something with good animation controls, can import GIS files, is mostly stable, and allows me to edit the appearance of almost everything. Oh and something under $8000 bucks would be nice too. Any ideas?