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Virtual Globes

  • By: John E. Bailey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A virtual globe is a computer software that allows interaction with a three-dimensional (3D) representation of Earth or another world. Virtual globes belong to a group of applications collectively termed geobrowsers, which include modern Web-based dynamic maps. Geobrowsers are a key component in the development of “neogeography” as they provide a medium through which users can organize, search, and visualize information according to geospatial parameters. Virtual-globe technology has been available for over a decade but entered mainstream consciousness only with the release of Google Earth in 2005. The subsequent popularity of this software has inspired a rapid evolution in the features and capabilities of many virtual globes. This entry provides an overview of their history and popularization, describes the different types of virtual globes, and ...

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