NASA WorldWind

Open-source virtual globe / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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NASA WorldWind is an open-source (released under the NOSA license and the Apache 2.0 license) virtual globe. According to the website (, "WorldWind is an open source virtual globe API. WorldWind allows developers to quickly and easily create interactive visualizations of 3D globe, map and geographical information. Organizations around the world use WorldWind to monitor weather patterns, visualize cities and terrain, track vehicle movement, analyze geospatial data and educate humanity about the Earth." It was first developed by NASA in 2003 for use on personal computers and then further developed in concert with the open source community since 2004. As of 2017, a web-based version of WorldWind is available online.[1] An Android version is also available.[2]

Quick facts: Developer(s), Initial release, Written in, Op...
NASA WorldWind
Developer(s)Ames Research Center (NASA)
Initial release2003
Written inJavaScript (Web), Java (Android, Desktop Java SE, and Server), C# (obsolete Windows/.NET)
Operating systemCross-platform; see above
Available inEnglish
TypeVirtual globe software development kit
LicenseNASA Open Source Agreement v1.3
Animation showing atmosphere and shading effects in v1.4
USGS Urban Ortho-Imagery of Huntington Beach, California in older version of WorldWind (1.2)
Rapid Fire MODIS – Hurricane Katrina
A cyclone moving across the Indian Ocean (on normal cloud cover – not Rapid Fire MODIS)
Moon – Hypsometric Map layer
Mars (THEMIS layer) – Olympus Mons
Hurricane Dean in NASA WorldWind
Washington DC, Wikipedia point layer – icons link to Wikipedia articles

The original version relied on .NET Framework, which ran only on Microsoft Windows. The more recent Java version, WorldWind Java, is cross platform, a software development kit (SDK) aimed at developers and, unlike the old .NET version, not a standalone virtual globe application in the style of Google Earth. The WorldWind Java version was awarded NASA Software of the Year in November 2009.[3] The program overlays NASA and USGS satellite imagery, aerial photography, topographic maps, Keyhole Markup Language (KML) and Collada files.