Reaping the World Wind

As I said in my brief entry about NASA World Wind last November, my lack of access to a Windows PC — at least one I can install big software packages on — prevented me from checking it out. Manuel de Freitas wrote me last week to say something about that:

I have been playing obsessively for the last week with NASA’s World Wind so I quickly zoomed-in on your entry on this amazing piece of software. Well, if it’s true you haven’t seen it yet, probably I can persuade you into borrowing/stealing/buying a Windows PC and install this 170 MB software package. It’s worth the trouble.
Combine a slick real-time-3D program with auto-download mapping for the ENTIRE world, with data from a number of satellites, PLUS an immense number of “plug-in” animations that you can superimpose on the globe or the maps, PLUS all the country boundaries, all the flags, even ALL the cities and villages in the world, and you’ve got something to cry for. To repeat a word I’ve used above, it’s really amazing.
I don’t know Keyhole, but now I feel I don’t need to know it. Please check it. I’m not as devoted to maps as you, but I’m excited enough to feel compelled to write to you about it.

I think he likes it. So does Patrick Strang:

If you’re like me and can browse through maps for hours and hours you must test NASA World Wind. It has got to be the most fascinating piece of software I’ve ever used, and I use it on a regular basis just out of sheer enjoyment. Imagine the whole world browsable, with satellite images of different detail. Download it now — that’s an order!

Oh, for a port.