There are many Digital Earth globes in use around the world for a wide range of purposes – providing access to vast amounts of scientific and cultural information that help people understand the Earth and its natural and human phenomena.

To help understand the range of globes in use, and to inform the Open Digital Earth Foundation in its mission to develop a globe application for societal benefit, the Foundation has undertaken a preliminary review of Digital Earth globes.

The Review of Digital Globes 2015 was conducted by Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information researcher Jessica Keysers in March 2015 on behalf of the Foundation. This paper provides a preliminary summary of 16 existing unique digital globe platforms and 21 associated visualisation applications, including two digital globe visualisation applications that do not qualify as platforms as do not allow users to add any data or make any customisations. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

A 2017 updated version of the Review of Digital Globe is underway by Ms Jessica Keysers, CRCSI, on behalf of the ODEF. A copy of the draft review report is available below. Your input and feedback is sought to assist in finalising the report by June 2017, with comments sent to

DRAFT VirtualGlobes_Review Sept2016

Comments and input are sought against the following questions:

  1. What are your contact details and interests in digital globes (eg developer, researcher, end-user, and region or sector of application if relevant)
  2. Any comments on the accuracy of details in the draft review report regarding globe characteristics or functionality?
  3. Any short examples or case studies of globe applications to societal challenges that can be shared to inform decision-makers on the utility of globes?
  4. Any insights or lessons learned on the use of globes that could facilitate wider use, including by groups less technically proficient?

High resolution images of globes and applications, with attribution details, are very welcome.