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* TerraFly

USGS and FIU Join Forces to "Fly"

By GeoCommunity Staff

TerraFly, which is found at, will allow users of all levels to explore these seamless data using Internet Explorer or Netscape web browsers. In addition to browsing the database, users will be able to purchase digital or printed images over the Internet. TerraFly was developed in cooperation with NASA, the National Science Foundation and IBM.
TerraFly, a joint effort of the U.S. Geological Survey and Florida International University (FIU) that will let users interactively fly over the Earth's surface and explore spatial data such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and street maps. The USGS expects to start delivering data to FIU later this year with nearly full coverage of the continental U.S. planned in the first 2 years. Additional global satellite data sets from Landsat 7 may also be incorporated into TerraFly. Florida International University will host the data at their High-Performance Database Research Center in Miami, Florida, provide the software, hardware, and system management, and will handle the e-commerce activities. "Partnership projects like TerraFly provide excellent opportunities for the USGS to leverage technology to help us ensure that our scientific information can be used easily and reliably," said Kathryn Clement, USGS Deputy Director.

The site boasts data from the USGS, SpaceImaging, OrbImage, and Kodak and has also established partnerships with NASA, NSF, and IBM

The Demo

It's simple... enter your street address, city, State, zip code and then "Fly Now". The server will 'grind' for awhile, then once your Fly Applet has loaded you'll notice some nifty features on your desktop, including a "control Panel" which displays lat/long, azimuth, and projection parameters. The "FlyFrame" will pop up as your main display revealing aerial photography with major features and roads nicely labeled... very nice (See image below)! Note, for the purpose of this example I decided to view imagery of a somewhat rural area in Niceville, FL. For more detailed example see this image from Miami Beach, FL showing Ikonos imagery.

It appears that we can expect much more from this site in the future. Currently under the "data layers" option the pickins are slim, however, judging by the partnerships, I would expect much more data to be available in the future. If your company is a data developer/provider, you might wish to contact the folks at TerraFly and get them to serve up your data. This site definitely gets a thumbs-up from yours truly!

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