WorldWind South Africa

The World Wind Walkthrough Tutorial is intended to be a guide to the basic features of World Wind using step by step instructions. It is not a complete guide by any means and will not help you with any problems you encounter. If you do encounter any problems, or just want troubleshooting information, try the Frequently Asked Questions.

Interactive Walkthroughs

There are a series of walkthroughs available at Whirlwind Tour of World Wind . These are Flash  based animations showing different aspects of the World Wind experience.


Loading World Wind

First, double-click the "World Wind 1.3" icon, presumably on your desktop:


After the splash screen comes up (a whitish box with clouds) the main World Wind window should come up. At the top will be a toolbar:

The World Wind Toolbar

There are lots of buttons on here, but the ones we are concerned about are highlighted: the Position Information button, NLT Landsat, Placenames, and Borders. If they are not already, turn on the Borders and Placenames by clicking the respective buttons. Country boundaries and names will start loading.

Moving around

Rotate the globe clicking on the globe and moving your mouse. Alternatively, you can double-click on the globe to center on the point you double clicked on. For this demonstration, we'll focus on the United States worldwind://goto/world=Earth&lat=39.28728&lon=-99.88412&alt=3685059 , so move to the west.

The San Francisco Bay Area (Highlighted)

Now we can check out the imagery. You may want to turn borders and placenames back off by clicking the buttons again, or the screen will get crowded. There should be a small black arrow above the NLT Landsat button. If not, click the button. Now, zoom in by either rolling your mouse wheel away from you (toward the earth) or holding both mouse buttons and moving your mouse away from you. Zoom into the San Francisco Bay area worldwind://goto/world=Earth&lat=37.81022&lon=-122.41505&alt=10000  for this example. Stop at about 10000 meters. This is a good time to mention your location identifier. In the upper-left corner of your screen is a button:

If you don't see a bunch of numbers on the upper-right side of your window, click the button to get them. This information tells you where you are in the world. Towards the middlish bottom is your altitude, which should now be around 10000.

As you wait, you should see the world getting more colorful. Once these patches of earth (called "tiles") download, you can tilt the earth to see it in three dimensions. First, you'll want to make sure vertical exaggeration is on. On the menu bar, select "View->Vertical Exaggeration" and set it to somewhere around 2, which seems to be a good value. Setting it higher or lower will make the mountains steeper or less steep. Now, hold down the right button while moving your mouse around (move it down, for example). You can zoom in and move around all you want to see the terrain. Looking east, you can see mountains. Now that we've seen the 3-D aspect, press the spacebar once (not twice!) to get back to looking straight down. If you like, you can turn the 3-D off by setting vertical exaggeration to 0. Now, zoom in farther, to about 1000 meters. Now click the "USGS Digital Ortho" button:

Black and white tiles should start loading. These give you a pretty detailed view, with 1m resolution. These tiles are available for the whole United States, but nowhere else.

Now, since we're in San Francisco, which is a very major city, we can see the USGS Urban Area imagery. Zoom down to about 500m, and press the USGS Urban Area button:

Color tiles with a .25 meter resolution will begin to load. These are the best images currently available, and are only avaliable for select cities in the United States (. If you don't see any white spaces yet, look around. To your east, for example, you will see a sea of white nothingness to represent the rest of the United States. This is perfectly normal, and if you aren't looking at one of the cities on the list, it is what you'll see.

This imagery is the best you can get with World Wind. If you want, you can turn on placenames again to see the vast amount of places World Wind has in its database. But there's more to this awesome program.


Add-ons are files created by the World Wind Community. A good example is the Lewis and Clark Trail. Zoom way back out so you can see the whole United States, and click the NLT Landsat button to turn the NLT imagery back on. Now, click the Lewis and Clark Trail button on the right of the toolbar:

A blue line with red circles will show up on the US. Pick a spot and zoom in to it. Be careful to not click on the icon, yet. When you've zoomed in as much as you want, move your mouse over the icon. The icon will change from semitransparent to solid, and the name will show up. For the Lewis and Clark trail, the name will just be something like "Stop #1", but for other add-ons they will contain a more descriptive name. Now, click on the button. Your default browser will load up and go to a page with Lewis and Clark's journal entry for that location.

There are other add-ons included with the World Wind download, and many more avaliable for download independently. Check the add-ons page and the Add-Ons & Scripts forum for more of these add-ons. Some of these will include icons on the toolbar, and some won't. Either way, you will want a different way to manage the addons as they grow in number. This is what the Layer Manager is for. Click the Layer Manager button, or press the "L" key:

This will bring up a box on the left side of your window with a series of check boxes representing each addon or imagery layer. If the addons have multiple layers (as many do), there will be an arrow to the left of the name. Click this arrow to show all the sub layers. Click the arrow on "Imagery." There you can turn on or off the Blue Marble layers (the green-and-blue base images of the earth). The Hi-Resolution Imagery (from Landsat to USGS) is under a separate branch. Click the arrow on this branch to select the imagery you want. You will notice that you can only pick one. Other addons will allow you to pick several layers at once.


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