Saturday, November 3, 2007

NASA World Wind: The virtual globe on your desktop

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World Wind is an open source, 3D interactive virtual globe software created by NASA. World Wind allows any user to zoom from outer space into any place on Earth. World Wind uses satellite imagery and elevation data to allow users to experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if they were really there. Virtually visit anyplace in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps or along the African Sahara.

Unlike your desk globe World Wind can display thousands of place names all over the world, from country capitals to villages in sparsely populated regions. You can see country borders, and in some cases intracountry borders such as US states.

The program overlays NASA and USGS satellite imagery, aerial photography, topographic maps and publicly available GIS data on 3D models of the Earth and other planets to produce a realistic looking Earth model. Apart from the Earth there are several worlds in World Wind: Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter (with the four Galilean moons of Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto) and SDSS (imagery of stars and galactics).

It's similar to Google Earth, but provides more data and images and an intgeractive 3D view. If you like Google Earth, you will certainly love this one.

Screenshots:



The Earth - the famous Blue Marble.



Mt. St. Helens, Washington



Hurricane Kate, Atlantic Ocean



USGS / MS Research Terra Server USA

Photo credit: NASA

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