World Wind FAQ

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Revision as of 08:08, 11 February 2005

World Wind FAQ v 0.99

Last Modified: January 22, 2005

Compiled and Maintained by Llynix (Anthony Taylor)-


Almost all the forum (and now wiki) posters (if you want specific credit please let me know)




.NET is improperly detected in the 1.2e installer. If you recieve an odd error message not related to graphics, try installing .NET 1.1 linked below.

Downloading World Wind

The latest version is 1.2e

This version is clearly marked if you go to Help->About in World Wind.

To get the latest version visit [[1]]

Software Requirements

Microsoft Directx 9.0c

Microsoft .NET 1.1

Recommended Specifications

  • Windows 2000, XP Home, or XP Professional (Win 95,98,ME is available with Full install)
  • 1.0 ghz CPU or higher
  • 256 MB of RAM (I run 128MB with no problems)
  • 3D Graphics Card (64 MB+ recommended) Check out the Video hardware compatibility list.
  • DSL / Cable connection or faster (I would hate to run anything else)
  • 2 GB or more of disk space

Bandwidth and Server Issues

Why are the wrong image tiles showing up?

Possibly and probably due to the server bandwidth issues.

A work-around is to delete the numbered folders in the "cache" directory, but then of course you have to re-download all the images then next time you run the program. It's not obvious which particular cache files correspond to the "bad" areas.

You can also use a DDS viewer to browse and delete the offending files.

Nvidia's DDS viewer -- — By installing this you can switch to thumbnail view in the explorer and find and delete those nasty tiles.

Another good .dds format reader is Irfanview --

Also it is entirely possible that you are viewing more then one layer. Go to the layer manager and under images make sure only one box is checked. Otherwise things look very messed up.

If you do manage to find a "bad" tile using Nowak's server and upon reconnecting keep on downloading that same "bad" tile, please kindly send Nowak an email or message stating the filename and level (folder number) of the tile so he can delete it.

Can I use this for international locations?

Landsat 7 data is available globally and you can pick out many prominent features in your location. The resolution is 15m per pixel, so you can see major highways, airports, or city centers. However you probably won't be able to see your house and certaintly not your care.

USGS data covers only the US. You are more then welcome to view it all you want, but please don't complain that your area is not covered. The United States Geological Survey will unlikely collect data for areas outside of the US.

USGS 1m / topography cover most of the US. USGS urban only covers certain areas in the US. These are the color images you may have seen.

Work is in progress for additional data sets. While there is imagery for many other locations, most of this imagery is licensed and is not freely available. If you know of any public domain or unrestricted datasets that we can incorporate please feel free to tell us about it.

These forum posts have information about other countries: Norway Iceland Canada Australia

How large is the data set? Is it available for download?

The data sets collectively are well over 20 Terabytes. As such they are not available as a full package for localized download.

However work is in progress to offer certain datasets for a full download via torrent perhaps.

How about bittorrent for the data sets?

Because of the size of the data used, and the limited amount of data users download of the total available data, it is unlikely that p2p would make much of a dent in the problem of serving that data.

But see above.

Why am I getting 'Problem connecting to server. Trying again in 2 minutes'

Two reasons, possibly the server is down. You could say.. try again in 2 minutes.

Or you may be behind a proxy. You'll need to configure a port remapper, or hunt down an admin to help.


How do I know it's downloading data?

The NASA logo means that you are downloading imagery (attempting anyway). TerraServer (USGS) now has its own icon. You should also get a red box.

My video card isn't working?

Check out the Video hardware compatibility list.

Please by all means, post a ya or nay depending on whether yours works.

Voodoo 3's unfortunately do not work.

How can I extract data from Worldwind for use in other modeling and mapping applications?

All the data is cached in the installation folder under the "Cache" directory. It's organized by the dataset, however, images are in DDS compressed format. Please see above for DDS viewers.

You may have more luck reading up about the WMS protocol, and then interfacing with the same servers that WW connects to.

Are images on World Wind copyrighted?

The Landsat Global Mosiac, Blue Marble, and the USGS raster maps and images are all Public Domain.

Can I use images on World Wind for commercial purposes?

The various servers you receive data from do request that you give them credit, however this is not required. You may do what you wish with these images.

Windows 95,98,ME compatibility?

New Versions (1.2e or greater): New versions shouldn't have a problem running unless it is due to an older computer / video card. I would appreciate some feedback on this. The latest version removed the texture converter code so the annoying black dos box shouldn't show up.

Older Versions: World wind uses a texture conversion utility which is not compatible with older versions of windows. However some people have had luck in getting it to work. Please see this forum:

Can I copy my cache data to another computer?

Yes you can. Click here for discussion.

How do I load the .25 meter resolution maps, as shown in the screenshot of D.C. on this web site?

That is actually only accessible under the Layer Manager->Images->High Resolution Terrain Mapped->USGS Urban Area

Enable that tree node and disable any other ones that are enabled in that particular list

All I see is white tiles when viewing the USGS Urban data!

USGS urban data is not available for all areas. Jathos has started this thread to pinpoint the areas you can look at.

What is the most proportionate "vertical exaggeration"?

Although it seems that 2 or 3 should be the "correct" vertical exaggeration, "1" is the correct and real vertical exaggeration. More correctly, "1" means that the vertical height is multiplied by 1.0, whereas vertical exaggeration of 3 means that vertical height is multiplied by 3.0.

Secret Keys

  • Wireframe: Cntrl+W
  • Diagnostic Info: Cntrl+D

When I run setup.exe I get an error.

Please see this forum.

Future Versions

When will the next version be out?

Just wait for it. World Wind is under active development. We haven't forgot about you.

Is there a way to set a proxy?

The current version of worldwind has limited proxy support. (I believe it defaults to the proxy settings in Internet Explorer.) Future versions should feature a more robust proxy support.

Do you think you could add boundaries of other sub-national entities, such as Swiss cantons, Australian states, and Canadian provinces and territories?

Chris : It's coming.

Llynix - the only reason these files aren't in there is they haven't been generated yet. If you have some free time, and a basic knowledge of computer programing why not volunteer to convert them?

Any chance a future version could make the amount of cache adjustable?

This is done, please see your WorldWind.exe.config file.

Is there a way to narrow down a search for a place?

We realized this problem almost immediately (there are approximately 2 million places with 3 million more about to be imported) and we're going to associate a "Place" with a country or geographic identity. Perhaps you will type in "Paris France" and you will only get matches that have those two keywords. Also, if anyone hasn't noticed, the searching tool is case sensitive, and that will of course be changed as well.

In addition, we want to display more meta-data information about a particular place, such as the type of place(mountain, populated place, beach...), and perhaps attributes such as population or elevation. We of course are open to suggestions that anyone else might have in terms of what would be useful.

Several people are working on placenames right now. Stay tuned.

There are place names all over the place!

Yes, the amount of placenames is a bit of a nuisance, and we're working on ways to remedy this problem. We still want those placenames in there, we just don't want them to take up so much real estate on the screen.

— Side note,if you go to the layer manager (tools / layer manager) under placenames you can click off certain ones. It may be helpful to remove the one labeled "US Anthropogenic Features" which contains info about churches, schools and other landmarks in the US.

The entire time the application is running, it uses 50-100% of the CPU, why?

World Wind uses the similar technologies to most high-end video games, and as such, requires a large percentage of the CPU. This will get optimized in future releases, but we're still heavily in the Research & Development stage.

Also there are a few bugs attributed to high CPU usage. Check out:

How about other planets?

Mars is in beta testing right now. I am personally hoping for Venus next, but with the data available it may likely be the moon.

I would love to see a feature that showed day/night in realtime say taken from the USNO atomic clock. Perhaps a setting where you could follow the terminator and such.

It's on our list, slightly more elevated now that you asked for it.


Chris : We actually have plans to import a "Military-Grade" star map. It's probably overkill, but we like it that way.

I think Chris is referring to:


What license are you releasing under?

Nasa Open Source license v1.3.

Will World Wind remain always free?


The program itself is open-source and will always be free. Access to NASA provided data will also remain free. However, there might be private companies that want to provide their data through World Wind (perhaps magazines or encyclopedias) and perhaps might charge a fee for access to their data. As long as there are people who want NASA provided data, and are using World Wind for that purpose, it gives the departments in charge of providing data a reason to ask for more funding to improve bandwidth to the data.

Why did you decide on C# and DirectX?

See this forum posting:

Mac and linux ports?

Since this is open-source, we encourage any OSX programmers to start a port and we will try our best to provide whatever resources we can towards the effort. Right now our development staff consists of one programmer and one graphics designer, but we are an ambitious duo so we will do our very best to please everyone.

For more information:

In what areas do you need the most help? How can I contribute?

World Wind's sourceforge page lists the latest bugs and feature requests. The developers use these pages as the current "TODO" list.

Several people have mirrored cache file content and the worldwind main program. If you have available bandwidth please consider adding a mirror.

Feel free to answer questions here on the forums, every question you answer is a question that an admin doesn't have to. This leaves them more time to hopefully give us a better worldwind.

Some international users have begun to look into the possibility of incorporating local data sets into worldwind. If you are an international user it would be helpful to locate where datasets are stored, and any licensing / copyright problems. I'm sure this will give our developers a leg up and speed up the process of integrating international data.

Feel free to contribute to this faq.

<shameless plug> And if you're bored, why not check out the Worldwind Hotspots Website, and add a few hotspots. </shameless plug>

When is the planned migration to sourceforge?

Done! CVS is up and people are adding bugs and feature requests.


What data does WorldWind use and where can I access it?

Here is a partial list that I came up with.

Where can I find more links?

Please see this forum :

And this forum :

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