- it is very labor-intensive to create a cloud-free visible-light image of
the entire surface of the earth
- it is also complicated to apply a texture
evenly to a sphere
Next Generation (BMNG)
- a 500m global image composited from the MODIS satellite, collected 2004
- radically better than the previous Blue Marble dataset
- available in three versions (plain, with topography, with topography
- and in 12 months (January through December) showing seasonal color variation
main download link for BMNG on the Visible Earth site
Night 2012, also known as the "Black
- a 750m global image (1/3 the resolution of latest Blue Marble),
compositing a few days in April and October 2012 to get night light
coverage with minimal cloud interference. A nice thing to use for
drawing a partly illuminated view of the earth from space. It
isn't just cities; many of the brightest areas are oil fields.
True Marble, free version
- a 250m global image composited from LandSat7 (1999-2002)
- color quality is good, although clouds are significant in LandSat's
usual trouble spots
- True Marble's commercial version is 15m (see below)
Planetary Image Maps:
- has a 10800*5400 (4km) image
- also available in lower resolutions
- though it's "fuzzy" and not very accurate, it is quite beautiful
- also provides bump, specularity, and cloud maps
- available as a Dymaxion projection image set for use with
Enviro Earth View:
- 15 meter coverage for the entire earth. They claim to be the
only provider with complete coverage at 15m, including the areas outside
the LandSat coverage area, by using supplemental data sources, including
15m for much of Antarctica.
- It is ocean-masked, so it is "clean" with no clouds or image edges
in the ocean areas.
- 'Simulated true color' uses LandSat bands 7, 4, 2.
- Licensing starts at $100 per 5x6 degree tile or $35,000 for the
whole earth, less for region bundles.
- 15 meter coverage for the entire earth, a 3 TB dataset
- Costs as little as $15 for a 2x2 degree tile, up to $25k or more to
license the whole earth.
- Claims "best available Landsat scenes [..] fed into proprietary,
advanced, color adjustment algorithms to produce true color imagery
while reducing atmospheric haze."
- By being true color, it compares favorably to NASA
OnEarth global mosaic, which
has the same resolution and source data, and some other commercial
15 meter coverage for the entire earth
- "substantially cloud free", usually shipped in UTM for small areas,
Geographic for larger
- claims to be "the first cloud-free global Earth image based on actual
landcover coloring" - it looks very similar to the other earth images
- they claim to have a more advanced process:
"We are unique in that we actually have an image
in our stack that classifies each pixel to a specific type of landcover
(one of about 900 unique types across the Earth), not simply a -1 to
1 NDVI measure of photosynthesis activity. Landcover classifications
are created based on entire year of AVHRR imagery looking at vegetation
onset and drop-off timing coupled with the other datasets."
Project by Tom Van Sant
- created from "multiple whole Earth mosaics of satellite scenes, utilizing
two visual bands and three thermal bands from the NOAA TIROS satellite"
- Version 1 (1990)
- resolution: 4.6 kilometer per equatorial pixel (9k by 4.5k)
- Version 2 (1997)
- resolution: 1 kilometer per equatorial pixel (43k by 21k)
- WorldSat International Inc.
- "NOAA, 1km, cloud free, LAC, Earth image"
- co-registered to 1 km digital elevation data and incorporating shaded
relief as well as ocean bathymetry
- they have licensed to many groups including
- companies like Intrinsic and
Omnitect to demo their
- National Geographic / ESRI
- WorldSat or Earth Imaging? "Using continental mosaics
release to the public domain by National Geographic, Earth Imaging
reprojected, assembled, and processed a cloudless composite portrait
of the entire planet."
- doesn't look as nice as the Geosphere or Blue Marble images
- "Face of the Earth™" is a natural-color image at 1.1 km
- project started in 1993, based largely on NOAA-11 AVHRR
- cloudy image at 720×360 pixels, free with some restrictions
- complex licensing with "single" vs. "multiple use"
- for whole image, see
their price list
primarily based on AVHRR ("three satellite systems and four digital
maps") from the 1990s.
- 500m global image, working with the German Space Agency, DLR.
- their 1km image was used for Van Sant's Geosphere version 2
- they also license a water mask, cloud and nighttime layers, and some
- GeoCover from Earth Satellite Corp
- many composited products available, but no full earth?
Price Summary (single / multiple use - not all licensing terms are equivalent):
||"We will beat
any offer from another vendor."
||$5k / $7.5
are for film, TV, and video productions"
|"Never knowingly undersold"
||Even the "free" 32km is
still under their license.
Other Planetary Bodies