KDE Marble 1.7

KDE (Freeware)

KDE Marble is a virtual, interactive globe that enables users to select from among the different planetary objects in the solar system. When viewing Earth, users can move freely across the globe and look for different places, similar to using a real globe. This program also allows users to zoom in and look at the world using different views: Earth at Night, Atlas, Moon, Temperature (July and December), Precipitation (July and December), 1689 Historical Map, Satellite View, OpenStreetMap, and Plain Map.

The program includes a database of over 12,000 locations such as mountains, bodies of water, and cities, all of which can be researched using Wikipedia. Users can also measure distances between places. Some of the featured views are as follows:

• Satellite – users can see Earth as viewed from space. This view is based on the pictures from NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Blue Marble Next Generation project.
• Atlas – this displays a classic topographic map that contains vector lines that mark out the world’s coastlines and borders of different countries. It also makes use of bitmap graphics to show height, especially of mountain ranges and volcanoes.
• Earth at Night – in this view, users can see images of the Earth during night-time, indicating the world’s most populous areas through the city lights.