Eyes on the Earth – An interactive tool for exploring NASA satellite visualizations

Just the other day we were discussing earth observing missions and a question arose regarding availability of a graphic or video illustrating the current satellite orbits. So we set out to answer that question and quickly discovered NASA’s ‘Eyes on the Earth.’

Have you seen this application? If you’re interested in satellites and remote sensing it’s definitely worth your time to download and explore. Just visit http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/earth/ and hit the start button to install the desktop application.

NASA is known for producing stunning visualizations that transform complex science into meaningful informational graphics. Anyone who has attended a NASA presentation or visited their website can attest to the thought and innovation that go into creating these products. The ‘Eyes on the Earth’ application is no exception to this creativity, bringing together an array of exceptional visualizations into a single integrated package.

The opening visualization of ‘Eyes on the Earth’ shows the current real-time position and orbital paths of NASA’s Earth observing satellites. The display is interactive, so you can easily rotate the planet into any desired position. There are also options to increase the speed of the visualization (bottom of screen), switch to full screen (lower right), toggle on/off city names and topography (upper right drop down menu), and adjust between realistic day/night lighting versus full illumination (lower right). The entire visualization can also be viewed in anaglyph 3D, assuming you have a pair of appropriate 3D glasses.

Eyes on the Earth

Want to learn more about a particular mission or specific type of observation? The application allows you to select from a number of pre-defined visualizations that portray different ‘vital signs of the planet’, including global temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sea level, and ozone. The different options can be accessed through buttons at the top of the interface or by selecting an individual satellite from within the central display. Users can then adjust the date range as well as type of data used for generating the display (daily versus three day averaging). With all these options, there’s a wealth of information available at your fingertips.

Eyes on the Earth

As a bonus, the NASA Eyes Visualization also includes ‘Eyes on the Solar System’ and ‘Eyes on Exoplanets’, which are equally intriguing to explore.

So sit back, set the application to full screen, and enjoy the experience.


One thought on “Eyes on the Earth – An interactive tool for exploring NASA satellite visualizations

  1. From Alex Held, information on another very useful tool: “Very similar to http://www.ceos-cove.org/ , but this one displays more international satellites from other countries. Very handy tool to see what satellite is collecting imagery over your site.”

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