Just every now and again, you find a really cool piece of software. And even more rarely, its free. I’m a big fan of freeware – lets face it, software costs loads usually, but there’s a small community of people out there who like to make tools available without wanting to rip the rest of us off.
And then there’s NASA. Getting a hard time in the States for spending all that public money and not having enough to show for it. But I’m one of those people who loves to stare in amazement at pictures coming from Hubble, loves to see us searching, exploring…
…And loves to see them producing a piece of software, freely downloadable, with zoomable LANDSAT and USGS map tiles, the former being available for the entire globe. The slightly unfortunately titled ‘Worldwind’.
OK, for those of you that this doesn’t mean much to, you won’t be that impressed. But this is the kind of stuff that I used to mess around with at uni in my remote sensing final year degree course. We used to use high-end unix boxes to do the same thing, and the map tiles used to cost reasonably serious bucks. And here they are, available on a home PC for nada, zoomable, panable and scrollable in 3D.
Here’s a few views of Portland and Mount Hood, just so you get the idea.
Mount Hood looking towards Portland
Portland Overhead View
Spot the old DHOP building!