virtual globe

Marble Virtual Globe 1.1 released

The Marble Team has just released Marble 1.1.

As with every Marble release there is a feature guide with screenshots available at:

This release is special: With many new features being developed during Google Code-in (GCI) the Marble Team
decided to make a new release in between the usual KDE application ones. The new version provides several new features and improvements:

* Map Creation Wizard and Map Sharing
* OpenDesktop and Earthquakes Online Service
* Extended Plugin Configuration
* Map Editing
* and Voice Navigation

The Marble library released alongside is binary compatible with the one shipped with KDE 4.6 (Marble 1.0).
The source code has been tagged on April 14 (see Binaries for the Nokia N900 are already available in the extras-testing repository at See also Dennis' blog at .
Desktop packages of this release will appear on the Marble download page ( during the upcoming week (for Linux, Windows and Mac).


WebGL Earth: New Open Source 3D Virtual Globe for Web and Mobile Devices

 Via the blog entry of its developer, I learned about WebGL Earth, a new open source 3D digital globe for the web and mobile devices. From their official site: "WebGL Earth is an open source software enabling to explore, zoom and “play” with the globe in any browser on any platform including mobile devices."


  • Rotation and zoom of the globe
  • Runs without a plugin in modern web browsers
  • Displays existing maps (OpenStreetMap, Bing, ...)
  • Supports custom map tiles for the Earth or other planets


  • A web browser with support for HTML5 Canvas and WebGL extension (Firefox4, Chrome 9+, ... mobile devices iPhone / iPad / Android later on)
  • Programming language: JavaScript (compiled with Closure compiler).

Google Earth 6 Released

From the Google Earth Blog, there is a new release which brings three big updates. First there is a tighter integration with Street View imagery, as well as a new navigation mode (ground navigation) which allows you to easily navigate at ground level (ala fps). Secondly, there is better/native support for 3D trees. Not quite sure there is an API around it, but at least they are slowly populating GE with 3D trees. Lastly, there is an update the the historical imagery to make it easier to detect and switch between the imagery. Check out the blog for more details and youtube videos.

3D Planet Viewer Via HTML5 Canvas

In case you missed it, the Fuzzy Tolerance blog has an article up showcasing a virtual globe done completely in javascript. It's a bit rough around the edges, but goes to show that it may be soon feasible to have a virtual globe experience without resorting to browser plugins.

Technical Overview of the 'Marble' Virtual Globe

We mentioned it three times in the past, here's now a technical overview of Marble, an open source virtual globe for KDE and Qt.

From the overview: "Marble is an open source digital globe application that is capable of displaying a number of local and Internet data sources. Intended for educational applications, Marble could be likened to an "open source Google Earth". Marble is cross-platform and has versions for the KDE environment and Qt. [...] So in conclusion, Marble is good at what it is intended for. Data resolution is limited, but it has an interesting set of different map types, plus a well implemented gazetteer which should prove useful for its intended educational mission."

Marble globe to be OSM enabled in KDE 4.1 desktop

Story imported from the previous Slashcode site, user comments have not been migrated. For more information, please read Welcome to the new!. Thank you for your understanding.

Mark Williamson writes "As described on Torsten Rahn's blog, the KDE 4.1 desktop environment is slated to include OpenStreetMap support in the Marble desktop globe. Marble will be able to download map tiles from the OSM servers and display them on its own globe interface. This is in addition to the various other map resources already provided by Marble.

This has also been discussed on the OSM-talk mailing list."

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