NASA World Wind

Originally created as an educational program in 2004, in 2006 the Department of Energy (DOE), impressed by World Wind.NET, asked NASA to make World Wind into a platform-neutral technology. Two significant decisions were made: re-factor World Wind using cross-platform Java and re-architect World Wind from an application to an API centric SDK that could be more easily used by other applications.

The re-factored and re-designed version of World Wind has greatly improved the versatility of this technology and the degree of acceptance in the software application development community, as witnessed by the significant government and commercial use of this technology. Since World Wind provides the infrastructure for information exchange, efforts to provide value can concentrate on solutions. In this way NASA stimulates entrepreneurial enterprise, provides the government with control over the information exchange medium, and enhances the ability for the world to communicate and share information.

Moving the community portal off government servers also served to improve the projects ability to grow the project as well as leave agency technical resources to focus on core development. A strategy of supporting a fully open community allows actors from outside of government to participate in the project, furthering the adoption of the software and broadening its use in a range of applications

The complete World Wind case study can be found at the CENATIC web site and is provided courtesy of the author, Deb Bryant.