Google Earth Part 2

Way back in July of last year I reviewed Google Earth – A program that allows you to view the world from satellite imagery.Just to recap once you’ve downloaded a 10mb file from http://earth.google.com and installed the software on to your computer you start with a picture of the Earth zoomed out as if viewing it from space.From this point you can rotate the globe and zoom in to street level or alternatively you can simply type in a place name and the program will automatically do it for you.

Yesterday a new piece of software was pointed out to me from the guys at NASA and thought that it was definitely worth a look at.World Wind (http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov) is a free to download 50mb file that does something quite similar in design to Google Earth.The main thing that excites me about this program is because of the people who created it because NASA has more experience of space than any other organisation on the planet.

Whilst the detail of the images and the interface itself isn’t as good as they are in Google Earth the experience that NASA has as a scientific organisation does put it ahead of Google Earth in some respects.For example in World Wind you can view the Moon in the same way as you can view the Earth which should be genuinely interesting for many people especially those with an fascination in space.I personally can’t help but think that given support by the Internet community and improved mapping that will come about in coming years that NASA will build on the program to encompass other planets in our solar system.Imagine being able to select a planet from our solar system and to be able to view the surface of the planet as well as the various weather systems and climates that affect that particular planet.

Additionally there are several scientific tools that you can use to actually make full use of the data that is included in the program.For example you can view hurricanes, floods, fires and volcanic activity that have occurred on the Earth over the years as well as looking at weather systems, oceanic movement and so on.

I would recommend downloading both pieces of software as not only are they both completely free of charge but they are genuinely interesting.World Wind has many features that Google Earth doesn’t have and even those that downloaded the latter program when I first recommended it should give it another go has the program has come along in leaps and bounds since then.For example, when viewing most major cities from space you can actually get down to a level where you can see cars and people walking in the street.I won’t start repeating my previous article here but for those of you that missed the original article you can get a copy of it by visiting www.computerarticles.co.uk. It is worth noting that you will only get full benefit from these programs if you’re on a broadband connection as most of the data is streamed over the Internet which would be extremely frustrating doing over a dial up connection.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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