There is something fascinating about Google Earth. Maybe it’s the ability to zoom in and see your house from satellite view.
Maybe it’s the quick motion from one location to another. EarthDesk completes the fascination with a rotating planet Earth on your Mac’s desktop. You get a real time view of the Earth from space. Cloud cover. Weather. Daylight. Darkness. City lights. 10,000 cities. And complete zoom capability.
The Earth At Your Fingertips
What Google Earth does is give us a zoom in view of nearly any location on the planet (some more so than others). We see it on our Macs and PCs and even on the iPhone.
EarthDesk puts the Earth live on the Mac’s desktop or as Windows wallpaper.
The view of the rotating Earth is that of an orbiting space ship or space station. Every three hours the cloud cover is updated complete with transparency, moonlight reflection, and an accurate view of sun, moon, and twilight.
It’s one thing to look out the window to check your local weather, it’s something else again to check the weather conditions of the whole Earth (at least the part that’s visible from space).
EarthDesk is more than just a view of the earth from space. Earth maps can be spread across multiple displays. It’s easy to center a specific city on the map so everything revolves around the city (talk about being at the center of the universe).
There are other views of the Earth from space that we don’t think about but which are reflected in EarthDesk. For example, vegetation and snow and ice coverage change with the seasons and are reflected accordingly.
The local time zone can be detected automatically and adjusts the map as needed.
EarthDesk is a perfect companion app for Mac or Windows households with school age children (I work in a school, so we use it here to give students a view of the Earth from space).
The only nit to pick is the use of the term real time. Cloud cover is updated about every three hours instead of moment by moment. That’s sufficient to see storms brewing wherever you might live, but not quickly enough to be a weather warning system.
EarthDesk, like Google Earth, is fascinating, runs on Macs or PCs and works on Macs running Snow Leopard. You can also try before you buy. It’s one thing to star gaze, it’s something else again to Earth gaze on your Mac.