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NASA WorldWind: Multidimensional Geospatial Web Platform

Patrick Hogan, Maria Antonia Brovelli, Candan Eylül Kilsedar, Gabriele Prestifilippo and Giorgio Zamboni

(Submission #174)


The ability to see spatial data in its native context is essential for that data to be appreciated whether by the scientific community, policy and decision-makers or the general public. Recently, the accessibility of spatial data has dramatically improved. Without the need to install an application, spatial data can now be experienced via any web browser, mobile devices included.

For developers, by simply updating the app on your server, the latest version of your application is now immediately available to your entire user‐community. Unlike other virtual globes such as Google Earth, NASA World Wind offers something very special, full control to customize the interface with any features or functionalities you might need. You decide how the data is accessed and experienced. This allows you to provide maximum value of the information to your user community.

Two relevant cases are presented. One case deals with Voluntary Geographic Data collected using Open Data Kit (ODK), which can be considered as a citizen science type application. This application is titled Policrowd2.0 and provides tools for customizing visualization, mashing up with additional features and transacting with ODK connected servers. The second case is a dynamic social media data viewer implementing Call Detailed Records (CDR) for telecommunication networks. This application visually represents the environment at the regional level. Telephone calls, SMSs, tweets and other internet exchanges can be easily understood in their temporal evolution.

The web version of NASA WorldWind (WebWorldWind) has made it possible for a whole new suite of applications for managing and sharing spatial data. Apps built with this web version are ideal for immediate social media type activity and also facilitate delivery of sophisticated data exchange scenarios such as weather and climate research, disaster response, personal navigation, and industrial-strength tracking for transportation, supply chain, aviation and satellites.

WebWorldWind is an application component, not an app in itself. It is written in JavaScript and provides the ‘real world’ geographic context for spatial data and information visualization, using a rich set of shapes and graphic primitives. WebWorldWind also provides platform independence, while accommodating any number of data types.

Web WorldWind runs on any platform via a browser, i.e., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Features include, 3D virtual globe, 2D map with multiple projection choices (Mercator, Polar, UPS, Equirectangular), imagery and elevation import, extensible, data retrieval (via REST, WMS, WCS, WFS, Bing, User-Defined), decluttering, measurement, accurate line-of‐sight, subsurface visualization, and more.


Topic Area:  [2.2] Technologies and tools required to deliver INSPIRE
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional fields

Comments:   virtual globe, geospatial, web app, spatial data, INSPIRE,

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