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World Wind - cool.


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Somebody told me that I should download World Wind, a 170mb download from Nasa which is used for looking down on the planet from satellite photos. I of course did so, and it's pretty funky. Warning, lots of massive images below, so read this whilst they load. I'm also bored, so writing this will reduce my boredom.

Now, this isn't a movie. This program involves a bunch of satellites taking photographs of the planet at various levels of zoom (which in itself is a mammoth task, when it comes to close-up photography, as I'm sure you can imagine) and then pieces them altogether. Essentially, you are presented with an image of the planet. You can see at the top a number of buttons -- what they do is cycle through the different satellite's photos. Only certain parts of America have the ultra-high resolution images, which let you see people's cars, mapped out.

So, for most other parts of the world you can only get to fuzzy building degrees of resolution. You can make stuff out, but since the high-zoom satellite hasn't scanned that area (it's called "USGS Urban"), you don't get the same level of detail you get in other parts of the world. So, you have to be frequently swapping satellites to get better imagery of the part of the world you're interested in. The US is obviously NASA's primary concern, so that's going to be what gets mapped out first before they even consider doing the remaining world.

Whilst I can't see much actual use in this program as it stands right now, since they're still executing the huge process of photographing the whole world in super detail, it is really fun to play around with for a short while. I've put some screengrabs below where I basically just left the view still and zoomed in a bunch of times with the scroller wheel (zooming is smooth, but it can take a while for it to catch up whilst it downloads the higher resolution images from NASA, so slower connections beware).

Before that though, here's a picture of how far in you can zoom in on the UK. It's not spectacular, but eventually you'll have the same detail that you see in the pics below it available. For now it pretty much just stops there, and going in further gets blurry. Another note about the set below is that if you keep an eye on the top menu, you can see the little black arrow above the icons changing at times. That's where I've had to change satellite to get a better view.


Now for the better shit..












Download: http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/download.html

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