Import the images into After Effects as an image sequence. If you have "a dozen" images, it sounds you have rather few for the effect you want. You then may want to use the Timewarp effect to smooth out the animation.
It's possible to a degree, but don't expect miracles. After Effects has the ability to blend between frames in two different ways: by simply mixing the content of two frames, or by attempting to "morph" between the frames.
Import your frames and place them in the correct order into a composition, each one a single frame in duration. Align them if necessary so they match as much as possible.
Then create a new comp, place the first comp into the second, and apply the Time Warp filter. Read more about Time Warp and how to use it in the help files:
Yes, but not as easily as you may have thought. You will have to carefully align your images' positions and anchor points, turn them into 3D layers then animate scale and X rotation to get your crane-up movement while at certain points you add cross-fades between the different stages. You may even need to cut out separate elements and treat them individually. In any case, it needs to be failry fast to disguise any imperfections with motion blur. Also note, that if this were for a comemrcial project you would have to license Google Earth Pro, but this would have the advantage of being able to directly export image sequences and movie clips that already contain waypoint and view animation....