Saturday, September 25, 2004

World Viewer From NASA

If you are using GNU/Linux, you probably noticed that the most sophisticated world viewer is Xrmap. It is a great application, since it was made by a single person i think and included a detailed information. You can update the database, by downloading from FBI's website and it's legal, don't worry :)

NASA has released some great tool as world viewer in their website. It has 11 applications, which is 3D engine, Blue Marble, Land Sat 7, SRTM, Animated Earth, MODIS, GLOBE, Country & State Borders, Place Names, Visual Tools, and Landmark set. You might have to download them all to see what features are in it, but here is the summary of each application:

3D Engine
World Wind allows any user to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, leveraging high resolution LandSat imagery and SRTM elevation data to experience Earth in visually rich 3D, just as if they were really there.

Particular focus was put into the ease of usability so people of all ages can enjoy World Wind. All one needs to control World Wind is a two button mouse. Additional guides and features can be accessed though a simplified menu. Navigation is automated with single clicks of a mouse as well as the ability to type in any location and automatically zoom into it.

World Wind was designed to run on recent PC hardware with 3D accleration. Please refer to the download section for more information on system requirements.

Sample of Blue Marble (mostly Asia)Blue Marble
World Wind has a full copy of the Blue Marble, a spetacular true-color image of the entire Earth as seen on NASA's Earth Observatory: the Blue Marble.

Put together from data of a variety of satellites such as MODIS and Terra, the Blue Marble can be seen in all it's glory at 1 km per pixel resolution.

Land Sat 7
Using World Wind, you can continue to zoom past Blue Marble and reveal the extremely detailed seamless mosaic of LandSat 7 data.

LandSat 7 is a collection of images from 1999-2003 at an impressive 15 m per pixel resolution. It includes other color bands such as the infrared spectrum. Users will be able browse these different sets as they become available. Any changes and updates are automatically inherited by World Wind.

LandSat 7's resolution makes it possible to see your own city, neighborhood, or landmarks in your vicinity. Seeing the whole globe like this puts the world in context with scientifically accurate data.

The complete LandSat 7 data set is too large to fit on a single machine so World Wind only downloads what you see and stores a compressed copy on your computer for later viewing.

SRTM
Combining LandSat 7 imagry with Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Data, World Wind can display a dramatic view of the Earth at eye level. Users will litterally be able to fly across the world in any direction.

In addition, World Wind can exaggerate these views so a user can easily pick out the details.

Animated Earth
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has produced a set of visually intense animations that demonstrate a variety of subjects such as hurricane dynamics and seasonal changes across the globe.

World Wind can take these animations and play them directly on the world. Anyone can immediately grasp where the event is taking place as World Wind rotates automatically into view.

MODIS
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS produces a set of time relevant data that's updated every day. MODIS catalogs fires, floods, dust, smoke, storms and even volcanic activity.

World Wind produces an easily customized view of this information and marks them directly on the globe. When one of these color coded markers are clicked, it downloads the full image and displays them.

MODIS images can download publication quality material at a resolution of 250 m per pixel. Anew fresh set of images can be downloaded every day.

World Wind also has a "tour mode" to automatically skim through any number of samples.

GLOBE

World Wind is capable of browsing through and displaying GLOBE data based on any time the user wants. For example, a user can download today's (or any previous day's) temperature across the world.

You can view rainfall, barometric pressure, cloud cover, or even the student GLOBE samples themselves. Each sample comes with a temperature scale

Country & State Borders
World Wind has a complete set of borders that traces every country and state. As you zoom into the world, the boundaries become more precise

You can observe where mountain ridges and rivers have formed the political boundaries of today.

World Wind has a full catalog of countries, capitals, counties, cities, towns, and even historical references. The names update dynamically, by increasing in number as the user zooms in. This prevents too many names from cluttering up the screen.

It's likely that you'll find your own town no matter how big or small it is in World Wind.

Visual Tools
World Wind comes with a variety of visual guides that help the user's experience such as latitude and longitude lines, as well as extremely precise coordinate data.

These helpers can be toggled on or off any time and are viewable with any of World Wind's other features turned on.

Landmark Set
World Wind has the capability to display actual 3d models of landmarks on the earth. This helps to see the world in context to places a user may have been to. Those landmarks that do not have 3D models for it yet have place markers similar to how MODIS displays places of interest.