Super Cool: Interact With Satellite and Aerial Images With NASA’s World Wind Program

I thought I would toss out another cool satellite and aerial image tool on our blog since Chris wrote about Google Local adding satellite images from Keyhole in SearchDay.

Note: I’ve only been using this service for a few days so expect more in a future blog post or SearchDay article.

The tools is called World Wind and is a FREE piece of software (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 that Chris mentions in his article. Here’s how the service describes itself:

World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.

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.

OK, I’m heading back to use World Wind right now. It’s quite addictive. Mo

Finally, I’m happy to see that Chris mentioned TerraFly in his article today. This is a great 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 as Chris points out you’ll find Census info, street names and more. You’ll also find nearby hotels, schools, and other local info.

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