Organizations around the world use Web World Wind to monitor weather patterns, visualize cities and terrain, track the movement of planes, vehicles and ships, analyze geospatial data, and educate people about the Earth.
Because World Wind is completely open-source and designed to be extensible, extending the functionality and API is simple and easy to do, creating a powerful platform for giving any web page the means to express, manipulate and analyze spatial data. Web World Wind can be incorporated into web pages running on all major operating systems, desktop and mobile devices and web browsers.
Curated by NASA, work on World Wind began in 2002 and is released under the NASA Open Source Agreement (NOSA). Work on Web World Wind began in 2014. It is the second major platform for NASA World Wind, the other being Java, which is still actively used and supported. (See worldwind.arc.nasa.gov for more information about World Wind Java.) World Wind Java won the coveted NASA Software of the Year Award in 2009. It has a global community of users in government, education, non-profit and commercial applications.
Web World Wind is different than a 3D globe like Google Earth because it is a library and API rather than a stand-alone application. This enables it to be included in any web page or web application as a component. Web World Wind provides a geographic rendering engine for powering a wide range of projects, from satellite tracking systems to flight simulators.
With Web World Wind taking care of the hard work of visualizing and interacting with geographic information — generating terrain from elevation models, retrieving and displaying imagery from image servers, managing globe navigation — web page and application developers are able to focus on solving the problems specific to their own domains and quickly building the geospatial applications they choose.