Creating a Dynamic Three Dimensional Global Display

The problem with two dimensional images (like the Mercator map) is that it distorts the size of places in terms of shape, scale and area. Here is an example. Look up Africa on a Mercator projection and compare it with a physical globe. You will realize how large Africa really is.

For all its advantages, a physical globe still has its limitations. For one, the images are static. Can we go a step further and recreate the globe as a three dimensional virtual image? Now that is a good challenge for embedded and software developers.

 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ‘Science on a Sphere’ system is a well known experiment in this space. It uses video projectors and computers to show planetary data on a six foot sphere. The sphere is able to show animated images of ocean temperature, climate change and atmospheric storms.

What if you could bring your palm close to the 3D globe and zoom an area just like you can on an iPad? What if you could zoom even further, down to level of the buildings and cars on the street? Right now, this is just a concept. But in the future, embedded developers might just create such a system.