September 28th, 2017

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, and Maria - the names that the late summer of 2017 will be remembered for in the Atlantic Ocean region. The strongest hurricanes ever recorder in the Atlantic have prompted alluvial flooding, mass migration, and ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Climate scientists indicate, already for years, that the planet continues to warm from greenhouse gases, and that the storms on the planet should get stronger. Monitoring natural phenomena is one of the satellites’ gifts to humankind, while the data acquired fill the gaps of understanding.

Before satellites, information about these phenomena and, actually, about any other natural events were pieced from observation records, mostly. But starting with the satellite era, wealth of information was generated and it empowered scientists, researchers and authorities to observe and understand more.

Images of September hurricanes’ eyes and clouds were captured and visualized all over the globe, while their deployment and damages caused were closely monitored by authorities.

Nowadays, data streaming form the satellites and planet visualisation are not accessible only to governments and authorities, but also to the general public.






Access and manipulation of high resolution remote sensing imagery is possible for any non-specialized in geographical information systems (GIS) thanks to platforms like NASA World Wind (NASA WW) and Google Earth (GE).
They are not meant to replace the more sophisticated GIS, but they open the world of the remote sensing to a much broader audience, with the hope to generate further interest in the remote analysis of the Earth.

Which one is better?
Is the question that generated many conversations about the imaging technology using GE and NASA WW. The answer: both, actually, as their approach differ from conception to usability.    

Both provide access to high resolution aerial and satellite imagery, available for entire Earth’ surface.
However, GE is a vehicle to location based services (for instance route planning) in 3D, whose primary target is the "everyman".

NASA WW is a scientist, programmer "toy” - in the best sense of the word - whose plug-in architecture means in the long run it could have more features GE as it is easy to add plug-ins and customized to fit its user exactly.

NASA WW is a free, open source API. Is not an application, like GE, but a software development kit that engineers use to build their own applications. It allows developers to quickly and easily create interactive visualizations of 3D globe, map and geographical information.






In image - Hurricane Dean 2007, in NASA World Wind

TERRASIGNA contributed, along with project partners, to the development of the Web World Wind framework. Based on ESA - NASA collaboration, this version of the World Wind family focuses on web technologies, and exploits the advancement of 3D technologies for the web.

Together with NASA WW development team, the project integrates elements of special interests for future activities, while focusing on the mobile platform aspects (cross – platform virtual globe solutions). We shared and put at work our capabilities for big data mining and 3D visualisation of large series of EO data (including layers’ definition and classification) using virtual globe technology.

Sharing, collaboration, openness and inter-disciplinarity are basic concepts for NASA WW technologies. Web WW takes care of the heavy-lifting geographic visualisation data, and 3D globe across all platforms empowers developers to give any application the means to express, manipulate and analyse spatial data.

Climate change and Earth phenomena could be better monitored, modelled and forecasted by leveraging the powerful tools available nowadays.

Detailed info about NASA WW, including DEMO.