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World Wind

By NASA Free Editors' Rating

Editors' Review

Download.com Staff Feb 27, 2009

NASA being the big name that it is, we expected its 3D global-imaging program to be made of sterner stuff. Unfortunately, it fell flatter than a collapsed playing-card house.

Less cluttered than Google Earth, with a simple toolbar array of clickable icons that enlarge when you mouse over them, World Wind's promising interface belied too many problems. More than half of those toolbar functions did not work, or were taking so long to render that we had to move on to other things--like sleep. No combination of settings could get the real-time weather maps to show up, nor did the Astrobiology Field Guide do anything at all, despite the cool name.

The Lewis & Clark Trail feature worked, as did the Landmark toggle, the switch from orthographic to topographic renderings, and the Zoom function, so there is hope. You can also look beyond Earth to other planets in the solar system. Some of the app's 3D renderings are very highly detailed, but only for a short list of specific places, like Death Valley.

At this point, though, we can't recommend bothering with World Wind when there are better functioning, more customizable global-mapping programs out there.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 1.4.0

Version 1.4 adds GPS Tracker and widget support.

General

Release November 8, 2008
Date Added July 2, 2008
Version 1.4.0

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows, Windows 2000, Windows XP
Additional Requirements Windows 2000/XP, Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, DirectX 9.0c drivers

Popularity

Total Downloads 648,542
Downloads Last Week 1
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151 User Votes
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Developer's Description

World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, as if you were really there. Virtually visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara.

Version 1.4 adds GPS Tracker and widget support.