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Open and fresh global cloudmaps for the planet

Back in the early 90's, when I first tried GNU/Linux, there weren't many things I could really do with my X session, due to lack of knowledge, skill, confidence and available open-source software. However, I did play with xearth, a program that renders a somewhat accurate image of our planet. A couple of years later it was replaced by xplanet which offered a lot more features and eye-candy options.

With NASA's release of the visible-earth program we suddenly had open access to high detail day/night, bump (relief) and specular (reflection) maps of the earth which can be used as textures with xplanet.

After playing a bit more with xplanet again for a couple of days in order to get realtime satellite positions directly on the desktop (see xfce-planet) I got frustrated by the cloud layer again. There was a time when some people put up mirrors of the near current (3-6 hours) global cloudmap we could use as a source for xplanet, but now it seems to have been split into some paid subscription model for high resolution and the low resolution image is distributed via CoralCDN, which, although I like the concept, failed constantly in delivering the global cloudmap.

By sheer accident I stumbled upon, so I tried it locally and it worked like a charm which in turn led to the idea to offer the image I need anyways to everyone else who desires to have a fresh high detail cloudmap, without having to set up the required infrastructure. And with that the Global Cloudmap Generator Robot was born, who creates a new cloudmap every three hours and then commits and pushes it to the public global cloudmap repo to use github's infrastructure as CDN we can hopefully rely upon.

And you can just get the latest map by grabbing:

If you're interested in how it all works or want to setup your own/independent cloudmap generator, here is a simplified rundown:

Mission-Log entry created by chrono on 2014/06/17 14:23 UTC


2014/12/02 13:28

Cool, thanks for sharing, I've almost given up on xplanet since I couldn't find any free live cloudmaps with sensible resolutions for ages now. And that's what I've always liked best on my desktop :)

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