A Java and C++ application which allows the user to navigate their world
Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98
Earth3D is a program that allows you to visualize the Earth from outer space with satellite images.
This program is a simple program that compiles images taken from NASA into a 3-dimensional globe. It creates a realistic planetary surface and loads all images on-demand from sources around the internet.
The interface is rather basic, and since the controls are not labeled clearly you will have to experiment to find out how to use them. On the left side of the screen is a list of image sets to choose from. Each website listed will pull data from a different source, and when you double-click one it will reload the images from that set into your current view. Each data source will have a slightly different appearance and resolution, though you can make adjustments to the quality of the image with the slider at the top of the screen.
There are a few downsides to this program, however. Though it is interesting to see the globe with a slightly different appearance than that portrayed in Google Earth--which looks somewhat cartoon-ish in comparison--you will not be able to get the same level of detail. In order to take advantage of certain features, you will need to be a technically proficient user. The options menu, for instance, only offers a handful of choices, such as using a proxy or turning on multitexturing.
While the developer's website says it is possible to embed data into the maps, this is also an option only available to technical users who could integrate that information into this program.
If you are looking for a fast way to find local restaurants or look at detailed images of your street, this is not the program to use. Users who wish to see a set of satellite imagery different from the set normally found in Google Earth, however, will find this program easy to set up and use.
Satellite data from multiple sources let you see the Earth from outer space
No installation necessary: just unzip and start
Imagery is slow to load
No extra features beyond looking at imagery
Low resolution compared to other satellite maps
Free Earth explorer powered by NASA World Wind technology
Maps and not much more
The Internet giant's popular map of the world that uses satellite tech
A great way to view satellite imagery, terrain, buildings and other visual data from around the globe