Makai (http://www.makai.com) has developed a new software product called “Makai Voyager” with many similarities to Google Earth. Users can freely fly to any point on the earth, look at imagery on the terrain, and load models of buildings/structures. Like Google Earth, the software runs on multiple platforms (i.e., PC, Mac, Linux).
The differentiating aspect of Makai Voyager is that it incorporates visualization and graphics capabilities for looking at scientific data. For example, users can look at weather patterns, atmospheric events like hurricanes, and ocean temperature or water current data. The software renders data in true 3D (latitude, longitude, and altitude space around Earth) using scientific visualization algorithms, and incorporates time as a dimension within the environment (making the software “4D”). For example, you can load a hurricane data set spanning several days and play the hurricane data like a movie to watch how the cloud cover and eye of the hurricane changes over time. You can even fly though the hurricane and take slices through the hurricane to analyze the data at a particular place and time. Hurricanes are only one example of volumetric data. We also do quite a bit of work for the Navy who uses volumetric ocean data to examine ocean currents, salinity, temperature, and more to see how these variables change in depth and over time. More information concerning the product itself can be found here (http://www.makai.com/v-index.htm).