NASA World Wind

A fun and educational software tool that delivers satellite views of anywhere on Earth

  • Category:


  • Version:

  • Works under:

    Windows 2000 / Windows XP

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free (GPL)
  • Vote:
    7.5 (142)

NASA World Wind is a digital globe that has pieced together HD images from six separate organizations to create beautiful maps and landscapes. Even though this software was never as popular as Google Maps, it has quite a few features that can’t be found anywhere else. In addition to the comprehensive search function, you can also follow the Lewis and Clark Trail from start to finish. As an added bonus, users can use NASA World Wind to virtually travel to the moon to explore craters, Apollo landing sites, and other landmarks.

It is an unfortunate fact that NASA World Wind was released just a few months before Google Maps. These two programs have many of the same features, but World Wind began to struggle as Google continued to invest millions into Maps. That being said, NASA World Wind is still an exceptional piece of software that has a few standout features.

Inside this program, you can quickly skim through the globe looking for almost any site or location imaginable. As you zoom in, the maps become incredibly complex, and that can cause some lag issues if you are running this software on an older device. You can also use the search box to find man-made or natural sites. Even though World Wind doesn’t have Google’s Street View, you have the ability to view each location from multiple angles.

Once you are done exploring the planet on your own, you can then follow the Lewis and Clark Trail. NASA spent months researching every mile of the Lewis and Clark Trail in order to accurately portray it in World Wind. You can glide across the United States on the exact same trail that those famous explorers followed over 100 years ago. Users are even able to see some of these most notable landmarks and sites that they ran into along the way. NASA has also included background information so that you know exactly what was going on during each leg of the journey.

The other standout feature that can be found in World Wind is the moon exploration option. Inside this software, you can explore an expansive 3D rendering of the moon. All of the images have been collected from satellites, and they have an incredible amount of detail. You are able to explore all of the most famous lunar locations including various landing sites and some of the largest craters.

NASA’s World Wind isn’t as practical as Google Maps, but it is still a fun program to spend some time exploring with. Users can easily spend hours traveling across the moon or following the famous Lewis and Clark Trail. Overall, it is an excellent piece of educational software for users of all ages.


  • High-Resolution Images
  • Images collected from multiple agencies and organizations
  • Unique and interesting features


  • Load times can be lengthy
  • Maps often seem cluttered

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