Virtual Globes

Archived posts from this Category

SWALIM WorldWind add-on for Somalia

Posted by Maurizio on 23 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: GPS, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Satellite Imagery, Virtual Globes

When SoMAP: webmap for Somalia crisis  was released a WorldWind add-on was anticipated to follow. The release of Chad’s Mogadishu Refugee Migration World Wind Add-On required background maps and image data … it had to be done! ;)

Somalia SWALIM add-on essentially comprises of the same data as SoMAP for 3D viewing in WorldWind:   a set of topographical maps covering Somalia in 100k and 200k resolution, Vector data of Mogadishu streets and general data, and displays areas affected by flooding. In addition selected areas also have 60cm/px Quickbird imagery provided by DigitalGlobe. 

Since SWALIM is the Somalia Water and Land Information Management project run by F.A.O.  for Somalia, the focus of this add-on is flooding. Somalia is one of those unfortunate spots of our planets where Nature plays a testing game on its inhabitants: either too little water or too much. Years of drought are followed by years of flooding … with a vengeance.

It is in this circumstances that historical data and careful land management becomes key not only to minimize impact of floodings but also to coordinate relief efforts in time of disaster.

In the past weeks many have asked the same questions:  what for? 

… or made comments of the kind:

Nature is simply putting things right, these populations have asked for punishment with their conflictual behaviour … see … they are warring again!

Astonishing: haven’t we learned anything from the past?

And how unkind these comments are to the hundreds of relief workers who risk heir life daily! :(

It is in time of extreme despair that religious fanaticism strives and undermines our societies, when Divine Intervention becomes the only hope for a better future.
The lesser the desperation, the lesser the fanaticism, the less the conflicts.

A relief truck which can find its way to destination does make a difference.
Close your eyes for an instant and just imagine a desperate father, in a refugee camp somewhere in Africa, powerless next to his dying son, desperation building up moment by moment and so the anger towards everything and everyone … and then suddenly the view of a white UN truck driving into the camp … hope! … I can see his smile, hope rushing back … and then, years later at a bonefire, imagine him again telling everyone of that glorious day when No-one was there and then miracolously a white truck arrived as an angel.

We can make the difference.

And, as I have just learned, we, the WorldWind community,  do indeed make a difference.  
Chad’s  refugees add-on mutated into a  kml suddenly makes Google Earth’s Communities aware of the Somali crisis  and the news  spreads fast …

Somalia - Chad at Earth is Square normally focuses his attention on WorldWind content (since he is a developer of the NASA-sponsored virtual globe). But, he was recently asked to develop a map showing human displacement issues in Somalia for both WorldWind and Google Earth. This is similar in concept to the Crisis in Darfur layer to help make people aware of human atrocities. Chad started by creating an add-on for WW, and then develops a similar one for Google Earth . Since WW supports KML, it seems to me he should have just developed a KML file and the same file could be supported by both applications. Regardless, great work Chad!

… Google suddenly populates Google Earth with Somali data.  

Finally the world learns :)

It has been a busy day. For details of the SWALIM add-on put together by Bull_UK please refer to his blog.

see also:

  • GeoNetwork gets a new interactive map viewer By Bull_UK
  • Somalia SWALIM Add-on For World Wind By Chad 
  • Mogadishu Refugee Migration World Wind Add-On by Chad
  • Mogadishu Refugee Migration Google Earth Version By Chad
  • Africam add-on for WorldWind 1.4

    Posted by Maurizio on 23 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes

    Africam has a several cameras in Africa which are pointed at African wild life.

    The Africam add-on lets adds cameara locations to WorldWind and as an icon is clicked the particular camera view appears in WorldWind’s internal browser.


    Instructions and a download link can be found at WorldWindCentral.

    The add-on was prepared by Bull_UK who describes it in detail on his blog .

    WorldWind South Africa portal

    Posted by Maurizio on 03 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Events, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Satellite Imagery, Virtual Globes

    In occasion of the 2005 World Space Week WorldWind South Africa was introduced in South African schools. This electronic atlas of Southern Africa fruit of the collaboration of  MadMappers, NASA, the SA Department of Science and Technology and coordinated by the SA Space Organization has now its own WorldWind South Africa portal.

    WorldWind South Africa portal

    The portal was realized by MadMappers in association with WorldWindCentral under the expert supervision of Bull_UK of the Free Earth Fundation.

    South African space science and technology contribution to sustainable development is coordinated by the National Working Group on Space Science and Technology. Space Technology being defined as the technology in satellites and ground systems used by space scientists both looking up to study the universe and looking down to earth. It also includes delivery of services to users on the ground.

    South Africa has a long tradition in space dating as far back as to 1685 and in Africa has a leading role in terms of facilities.

    A South Africa Space Agency is currently being established and the ZA002 Small Satellite Programme is under way. The first satellite, named SumbandilaSat, will be positioned in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to enable it to take high resolution images which will be used for agricultural and environmental management applications.

    MadMappers’ aim is to offer African users an open source customable platform on which to display spatial information relative to their country. World Wind Africa servers already supply a wide selection of data, ranging from topological maps to vector data, from aerial photography and very high resolution imagery to DEMs. Hopefully in a not too distant future we will be able to make South African satellite data from SumbandilaSat accessible to all.

    Special thanks to the Free Earth Fundation and the World Wind Community (in particular to Nowak, f0urtyfive and Bull_[UK]) for making this project possible.

    Tracks4Africa on Google Earth

    Posted by Maurizio on 12 Nov 2006 | Tagged as: GPS, Google Earth, Virtual Globes

    More than 6 years of efforts by the Tracks4Africa community ( have today culminated with the release of a Tracks4Africa layer on Google Earth.The T4A layer was been compiled using only GPS tracklogs contributed by the T4A community: it covers the whole African continent and it has been recognized by Google as world class data suitable to go alongside very high resolution imagery. MadMappers is proud in the small contribution given to this remarkable mapping exercise. Due to the nature of this voluntary effort data coverage is excellent in some places but less so in others.We invite everyone with a GPS to join this pan African mapping initiative aimed at creating a popular African GIS culture where everyone can give a contribution towards the re-mapping of Africa. To contribute: e-mail your GPS tracklog at the end of your journey.

    Please note that this initiative is not aimed at mapping major urban centres (often for cities very good quality data already exists) but rather to put on the map rural roads and tracks (together with a road surface description)

    Some examples of the T4A layer in East Africa:

    Dar Es Salaam
    Addis Abeba

    To access the T4A layer on Google Earth activate “Tracks4Africa” within “Layers” > “Primary database” > “Featured Content” i.e. where the National Geographic layer is.

    More instructions are available at “T4A Maps on Google Earth”

    To the T4A guys: well done!

    Africa GIS2005: World Wind Africa: African GIS accessible to all

    Posted by Maurizio on 21 Nov 2005 | Tagged as: Events, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes

    This is the title of our contribution to AfricaGIS 2005. The paper was co-authored by Patrick Hogan, the NASA LT World Wind project manager and attracted positive response by the African community. A number of African countries have expressed an interest in a customized World Wind country version.

    You can view the paper by clicking here!

    More information on the World Wind Africa initiative can be found at


    « Previous PageNext Page »