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Alternatives to Google Earth

How to browse the Geographical planet without Google


As part of the discussion on what if Google goes bust?, I did an experiment into being without Google. One of the things which might conceivably be missed was Google Earth. So, the question comes as to whether there are alternatives to Google Earth.

Interestingly, there are!

www.linuxlinks.com/article/20110724152349969/VirtualGlobe.html lists various alternatives which are actually open-source as well!

World Wind is an alternative to Google Earth and it's by NASA. As they have space hardware up there, it seems likely that they'll have made a good job of having the imagery available. See http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/java/ and http://goworldwind.org/

www.brighthub.com/internet/google/articles/61335.aspx - a variety of alternatives to Google Earth - although oddly it includes Google Maps.

Marble. See http://edu.kde.org/marble/ This is also a virtual globe. Other references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_(software) and http://marble-globe.org/

http://alternativeto.net/software/google-earth/ - includes Waze, Bing Maps, Flash Earth, Planetarium, Tagzania, Emerillon etc.

http://makemoney135.hubpages.com/hub/ISRO-BHUVAN - with special reference to Bhuvan, which may be higher resolution than Google Earth. Bhuvan has India as the centre of its world, which generally gives a different perspective from US-based sites. More about Bhuvan here!

http://www.ehow.com/info_12156880_msn-alternative-google-earth.html - with special reference to Microsoft Virtual Earth

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070419150303AAwVXGp - a few popular opinions about alternatives to Google Earth

http://gpstracklog.com/2006/02/alternatives_to.html

http://www.esri.com/what-is-gis/index.html - ESRI GIS

Also note: Maps are different from Google Earth. Maps are drawings which represent what's there, rather than images of what's there. To see the difference, compare 1. Your house. 2. A picture of your house. 3. An architectural plan of your house. See, different.

Google Earth is a composite image of photos mainly taken from aeroplanes, with a few from satellites. The pictures exist anyway, and Google is just sticking them together. Clever, but not unique.

What's needed is rival systems which can piece together aerial photos. I'm sure there are other companies that can do this!


Note that this page was created on 2012/09/08, and at the time there was no such thing as "Zoom App" or "Zoo Map" etc. It's just a neat term to use for software that shows terrain and gives you a chance to zoom on it.