Planetary Surface GIS Experiment Brings Cesium into Space


We have a new showcase up on our demos page!

Planetary Surface GIS ExperimentPlanetary Surface GIS Experiment

The open source Planetary Surface GIS experiment allows users to view satellite imagery of all of the planets in our solar system—and many of the moons— in 3D representations.

With Cesium’s roots in rocket science, it’s the tool of choice for those working on geospatial visualization of space, including for non-Earth applications. Chiara Marmo, research engineer at Paris Sud University, said of working on the project:

The Web is becoming the place where planetary researchers share their work and interact. For the Planetary Virtual Observatory we were looking for a tool that would allow them to produce this work in a collaborative and interactive way, without time-expensive installation and learning experience. CesiumJS already integrates a number of features adapted to geospatial analysis, 3D and time dependent visualization. The API is easily customizable to specific data layers.

We added planetary shape instances, and the options available for Earth, magically, just worked for planets too…almost. There are a few artifacts in zooming and in tiling for especially large or small objects. Rather than apply ad hoc solutions, we hope to find a general solution by collaborating with others in the Cesium community working in planetary applications.

If you’re using Cesium for space applications, share your techniques on the Cesium forum.

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