Posted by fabriziogiudici
on June 26, 2008 at 4:53 AM PDT
I've been just notified that the Italian Ministry for the Environment has just introduced a 3D viewer of italian cartography . The main features are: "fly over the terrain; fluid motion between two points; path tracking; popping up 2D maps related to the current point; simulating fog, sun, moon and stars; controlling the lighting model of the scene", etc....
Now, almost all of those features are already available in NASA World Wind for Java , which is free, open source, freely customizable, well designed, multi-platform and can be even run in an applet, without requiring the installation of an application. WWJ could have been an excellent platform to develop the Ministry's application upon.
In spite of that, they just made an application which is only distributed with a .msi installer: thus, it only works with Microsoft Windows. And I hope that the public administration has not paid once again a lot of public money for developing from scratch things that are mostly available for free.
PS I hope alto that the data are freely available by connecting with the server (but there's no mention about that), and in a documented format, so people can use alternate (and better) viewers. Going to read the documentation.