Marble, an Atlas for your Desktop

While looking for some applications similar to Google Earth I bumped into this KDE educational project Marble. Its a 3D Atlas and Virtual Globe application that aims to help students, teachers or anyone, in learing more about Earth, Mars, Moon and Venus. It provides a whole lot of features other than just the Atlas, with an interface similar to Google Earth.

Some of the best things about "Marble Desktop Globe" are:

  • It already comes with about 11 MB of offline data, so that offline users are not in loss.
  • Even though it shows a 3D view of the Earth it doesn't make use of hardware-acceleration(no Open-GL). This makes it easier to run on various platforms.

Install Marble

Marble is available in two flavours Marble-Qt and Marble-KDE. If you are running GNOME or a non-KDE4(e.g. KDE 3.5) environment then you will have to install Marble-Qt, which doesn't provide the whole functionality. If you are running KDE4, then Marble-KDE is the right choice for you, it provides you with full experience.

If you are running Ubuntu/Kubuntu or Debian, either click this link or run this command in the terminal.

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get install marble

Fedora users need to run this command in the terminal to install marble.

[shredder12]$ su -c 'yum install marble'

Marble Desktop Globe Features

Now, lets get started with the great functionalities provided by it.

1. You can use it to view distance between places.

2. Not just the globe Atlas View. There is a whole bunch of other views available too - topological, satellite, precipitation, temperature, streemap (via openstreetmap), opencycle (for cylists).

3. It even provides views for Venus, Mars and Moon.

4. One of the best features is the integration of the ability to retreive web content due to the efforts of student interns in GSoc 2009. Click on the places marked with wiki tags and you can see the wikipedia page about that place.

5. You can even export or print the current map. Change the times to get different day and nigh view of earth. They even provide historic maps of earth(good for teaching history ).

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