Geography 2.0: Virtual Globes

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A few more (specialized) globes

I've taken the bait, and plan to contribute here on a semi-regular basis. Like Geography 2.0 host Alan Glennon, I'm a PhD student in geography at UC, Santa Barbara. I too am following closely the progress of this remarkable new cartographic medium. I've updated the 11/05 listing of virtual globes, adding a few and arranging them in date order, most recent first. Recent additions include:
  • Wayfinder Earth (beta, 2006) link
  • Global-i (~2005) link
  • Volvo Ocean Race Virtual Spectator (2005) link
We will undoubtedly start seeing more specialized digital globe applications, such as Wayfinder Earth (directions and locating pizza parlors on your cell phone) and the fabulous Volvo Ocean Race program--well worth the download time, imho. Global-i offers, for 35 £/year a java app with economic data and "plenty of other information too - health, infrastructure, energy, military...and more - from present day back to 1960 and we are adding to this list all the time." The demo is free and loads quickly. Globe functionality and base data are disappointing for the Google Earth jaded (such as myself). It's all about content, of course, so for those who want to see this kind of global dataset one hemisphere at a time, it may be interesting. It's a shame when one has to overcome the interface to get at good content.