Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Worldwind is amazing!

The new WorldWind from Nasa is simply amazing.

The newly expanded NASA 'World Wind' computer program can 'transport' Web users to almost anyplace on the Earth/ Moon, when they zoom in from a global view to closer pictures of our natural satellite taken by the Clementine spacecraft in the 1990s. Computer programmers at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley originally designed the World Wind program to deliver satellite images and data of Earth to the Internet..."We have just digested the best of the Clementine images, so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution," said Patrick Hogan, manager of the World Wind Project Office at NASA Ames. "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates," noted Hogan.
Worldwind is a freeware (Windows only) from NASA that allows you to easily search and manipulate many terabytes of satellite images, aerial images, and topographical maps from various sources including Terraserver. Therz even a 3-D imagery of the moon on the World Wind platform. Major landmarks around the globe can be marked on images. In fact, icons are clickable and link to a Wikipedia entry about the landmark. If you like how you easily you can manipulate/move Google Maps, you can do just about the same thing here.

This is only one of the many amazing things you can do with this service. World Wind comes from the NASA's Learning Technologies. More cool tools on their site. This post from the World Wind Forums does a nice job providing info about a few of the services strong points and weaknesses compared to what other services provide.

I've found this chart very helpful. It offers a explanation of how to use World Wind and introduces the different datasets available. A real timesaver!!! Btw, switching from one data set to another is easy. All you need to do is click.

World Wind also has a wiki and online forums (World Wind Central) where you can get help and find some of the latest "cool" images that people have found. This post offers a good
overview of what World Wind offers compared to other services.

TerraFly is another gr8 service. If you're looking for info about a local area, it's amazing. Simply find a satellite or aerial image of interest, click on a specific location and you'll find Census info, street names and more. You'll also find nearby hotels, schools, and other local info.

However minute details arent so clear. I was only able to find Adyar, and even then after 50km altitude, its all hazy :(

Anyways, therz a gr8 increase in the number of such imagery and info tools nowadays. And all this means more and more data to store, mine and present. Yo!

Check out some tour vids here http://www.alteviltech.com/WorldWind/Tour/

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