An Open Source Alternative to Google Earth

NewsForge reports on NASA’s World Wind project. While the images in Google Earth of higher quality, the functionality is mostly the same.

Apparently World Wind is still Windows only. It was written in C#, which wouldn’t be much of a problem, but it also uses DirectX, which is. But it is open source, and so Russian programmer Vitaliy Pronkin created a port called WW2D that uses C++ and OpenGL.

WW2D is currently at version 0.99.5, has binaries available for Windows and Gnu/Linux, and has the source available. Apparently a Mac version shouldn’t be too far behind.

I’ve been waiting for a Gnu/Linux version of Google Earth for some time. Apparently a lot of people have. And a port shouldn’t be difficult to do since they already have Google Earth Fusion running on Gnu/Linux. I haven’t had a chance to look into WW2D yet, but the idea that people can make their own custom applications based on the code is exciting. While Google has released the Keyhole Markup Language, developers can’t make tweaks or add functionality to Google Earth.

These are exciting times.

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