Global Clouds (near realtime clouds)

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Global Clouds plug-in
Global Clouds
Global Clouds
Developer Patrick Murris
Latest release 0.6 / Feb, 2006
License Public domain
Web site Plug-in Website

Note: World Wind 1.3.4 includes Global Clouds built-in, therefore this plugin need not be installed if you are using World Wind 1.3.4 or higher.

The GlobalClouds plug-in renders a near realtime textured cloud layer around the world, which automatically updates every three hours.


[edit] Installation

Download Global Clouds 0.6 and double click the downloaded file, follow the on-screen prompts to install the plug-in.

[edit] Usage

To use the plug-in load World Wind, open the Plug-Ins menu and click Load/Unload... (see figure 1).

figure 1
figure 1

Click on 'GlobalClouds' in the Plugin Load/Unload window and then press the Load button, the indicator next to 'GlobalClouds' should turn green, you can now safely close the Plugin Load/Unload window.

The first time it will not show clouds right-away but will start downloading the latest cloud image. This can take some time (30 seconds ?). A grey progress bar will show up in the lower right corner of the screen. The next time you start the plugin it will show the latest image downloaded and will look for an update if more than three hours have passed.

To choose different days cloud cover, right click on the GlobalClouds layer in the Layer Manager and click properties to change the settings. The 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons allow you to browse through your local history and watch the cloud cover evolve over the globe.

Images older than ten days are automatically deleted. If you want to keep some, just rename them so their names dont start with 'clouds' (ie: my_clouds_20051129-1205.png) - Images are in the /Program Files/Nasa/World Wind 1.3/Plugins/GlobalClouds/ folder.

[edit] Known issues

Error loading texture

Prior to version 0.6, if you didnt use the plug-in for more than ten days, the next time, it would delete all the cloud history and try to load the latest image... which has been deleted, so you would get a pop-up message window saying 'Error loading texture...'.

To fix this, goto your Program Files/NASA/World Wind 1.3/Plugins/GlobalClouds directory and delete the file GlobalClouds.ini.

This problem has been fixed in version 0.6 - February 10, 2006.

[edit] Data source

The cloud map is produced by a script written by Hari Nair and is mirrored on servers listed here.

He says : "I create a global cloud map every three hours using GOES, METEOSAT, and GMS satellite imagery downloaded from the Geostationary Satellite Imagery page at Dundee University.".

And "These images are not real snapshots nor are they particularly accurate; they are mosaics created from geostationary weather satellite images. The times of the source images may differ by several hours since they are only available at limited times during the day. The cloud maps are not calibrated or carefully geolocated. They are only meant to make the earth look pretty!"

To avoid adding traffic to the Xplanet servers, a mirror site has been setup for WW users.

[edit] External Links

You can find alternate 'static' cloud maps on the following sites :

Save the image files (which shoud be .png) in Program Files/Nasa/World Wind 1.3/Plugins/GlobalClouds/ they will become available in the layer setttings (right click on GlobalClouds layer in Layer Manager). Make sure their names dont start with 'clouds' otherwise they may be cleaned away with images older than ten days - see Usage above. Cloud maps in .jpg format do not have transparency informations and will not work with this version.

[edit] See also

[edit] Credits

The installer for this plug-in was made using a script created by mazop. The cloud map is produced by a script written by Hari Nair.

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