2010

NASA Awards 2009 Software of the Year

The NASA World Wind Java computer program developed at Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, has won NASA’s 2009 Software of the Year award. Software engineers at Ames created the NASA World Wind Java Software Development Kit and Web Mapping Services Server. Patrick Hogan leads the NASA World Wind team, which includes Pat Moran, Tom Gaskins, Paul Collins, Lado Garakanidze, Randolph Kim, Patrick Murris, Jay Parsons, Chris Maxwell, and Rick Brownrigg.

altThe Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and the Chief Information Officer sponsor the NASA Software of the Year competition to identify innovative software technologies that significantly improve the agency’s exploration of space and maximize scientific discovery on Earth. A NASA Software Advisory Panel assesses and ranks the entries and reports its findings to NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board.

NASA World Wind Java is an open-source platform used to display NASA and U.S. Geological Survey data on virtual 3D globes of Earth and other planets. The displayed information comes from satellites, aerial photography, and topographic and geographic data. NASA and other organizations have a wealth of planetary science data, representing the main output from thousands of satellites in Earth orbit, and from dozens of missions to other planets.

NASA World Wind is both a system for highly interactive geographic data browsing utilizing the Internet, as well as a standalone computer application. World Wind is both a geographic browser for public domain science data, as well as a platform for land, sea, air, and space mission operations.

World Wind provides the technology to rotate, pan, and zoom through virtual worlds and is released under the NASA Open Source Agreement license. This allows anyone to review, test, and use the software source code, enabling commercial enterprise, governments, and individual developers to build the applications they need.

NASA processes almost 10 million requests for World Wind imagery daily. The program is delivering terabytes of global NASA satellite data that are a result of years of daily observations of precipitation, temperature, barometric pressure, and more.

A number of applications, or applets, are available for World Wind Java. The Air Search and Rescue application helps search and rescue planners determine the best places to search after a plane goes missing. Using the last known positions from ground radar and other sources, planners are able to reconstruct an aircraft path and study its position relative to the ground from any viewpoint, including that of the pilot.

Analytic Surface demonstrates visual representation of scalar values over a grid of geographic positions. Analytic Surface supports dynamic scalar data by providing a simple, high-throughput rendering pipeline for the application. This demonstrates two unique surface types: a dynamic surface representing random altitudes over the coast of Florida, and a static surface representing annual precipitation in Washington State.

The Terrain Profiler application shows the terrain profile layer in action with its various controls. It allows users to view a real-time section profile graph for any place on the planet, at any scale — a continent, country, or mountain range — simply by moving the mouse. It proves particularly useful to explore the ocean floors where the bathymetry data reveals important geologic features.

Flat World Earthquakes shows the latest earthquakes over a flat world projection. It allows users to see the whole globe at once while retaining the capability to zoom onto the surface and still experience 3D terrain.

The Blue Marble Twelve Month application gives users access to 12 months of the Blue Marble Next Generation dataset for the year 2004. It also lets users play an animation of the full 12-month cycle, showing how the Earth face changes over the year as seen from space.

The World Wind Web Service Catalogs application provides easy access to geospatial imagery via Web service catalogs. NASA’s Earth Science Gateway catalog and the Naval Research Laboratory’s Geospatial Information Database (GIDB) Portal System are included as examples.

The Airspaces application features 3D volumes controlled by geographic coordinates and upper- and lower-altitude boundaries. Airspaces optionally conform to the terrain as the user moves them. They demonstrate what’s possible in terms of dynamic manipulation of data in 3D space.

For more information on World Wind Java, visit http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov

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