Views of the Earth

artificial images of our real planet

Frequently asked questions

Here i collected answers to various questions i am frequently asked concerning the Views of the Earth.

Can you create a view of <insert your favourite place here>?
The answer is probably yes. But not every region is equally suited for generating an impressive image. Regions with mostly flat relief for example often lead to fairly uninteresting views. Suggestions for view locations are welcome but i can't promise to follow them of course.
I would like to see an image of a certain place. Can I commission a view?
Yes, subject to the limits of available data of course. There isn't a fixed price for this, it much depends on how much data preparation work is required. contact me if you are interested in this.
Can I use the images here as a wallpaper/on my website/for some other purpose?
Using my images for personal private purposes like for your wallpaper, a postcard for a personal friend or something similar is fine. Public use of them like for example on a website, for an advertisement or as an element in your own artwork is not allowed. A selection of views is also available under a Creative Commons license.

I would like to license an image and one of the Views of the Earth is exactly suited for my purposes. Why do i need to commission a new image?
The images shown here have been created specifically for the Views of the Earth collection. Licensing them for purposes unrelated to the Views of the Earth project is not possible. More information on image licensing.
Can you send me a larger version of a view?
Most of the images are rendered in a size of 3200×2400 or 5120×3840 pixel. The reduced size images on this site are sufficient to enjoy the image on the computer screen. The larger versions are not freely available.
How can I produce such images myself. What would be needed?
The images on this site are generated using free software and data products. You can generate detailed earth renders with POV-Ray right away - no special modifications are needed. Of course experience in using POV-Ray and the data processing tools are important. Knowledge in computer graphics and image processing would be very useful as well. Furthermore you need a computer system capable of dealing the large amounts of data. I also made available a demonstration scene for the techniques used for the Views of the Earth.
I am in need of certain Geo-Data. Can you provide this.
The data i use for creating images is all freely available. I can assemble data for specific purposes but due to time constraints i cannot offer this free of charge. So if you don't want to pay for the data you have to acquire it yourself.
What kind of computer do you use for generating these images?
Most of the older images on this site were rendered on a self assembled 2.2 GHz Athlon64 system with 2 GB RAM and fairly large harddisk capacity. Newer images are processed on Intel Core 2 Duo systems with 4 GB or 16 GB RAM. All systems are running GNU/Linux.
How realistic are these views?
The major inaccuracy of the Views of the Earth is the one obvious at the first glance: the lack of clouds. This is intended but also a necessity since no high resolution clouds data exists. Furthermore the atmosphere is not very realistic either, it is much less dense than in reality. The resulting color in the image therefore more resembles the color of the surface at close distance than from the actual view location. In contrast to a lot of commonly used satellite images like for example those on Google Maps the images here use color data from the visible spectrum and are color balanced to resemble the real coloring. The surface geometry is accurate up to the limit imposed by the data sources. There is no height exaggeration.
How can I support the work on these images?
If you like the images you can find on this site you can support my work by commissioning a custom view (see above) or by purchasing a print. You can also sponsor or license parts of the 5 Gigapixel image. If you just like to donate some money for my work use the button below:
Design and Content Copyright 2015 by Christoph Hormann
last updated Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:48