Nasa Visible Earth
While toying around with research for various game ideas I stumbled across the Nasa pages, especially the Blue Marble and World Wind projects. The Blue Marble is an incredibly detailed set of texture maps of the earth. Stitched together from thousands of satellite images, color corrected and deskewed it's the result of obscene amounts of work I'm sure ;-) Available free of charge. World Wind is an open source project that uses the Blue Marble texture as a basemap for a full 3D rotating globe. But it doesn't stop there: Through this 3D globe interface you have access to 20TB (that's terabyte as in 1000 Gigabytes!) of satellite imagery and data. Meaning you can zoom way in and the program will download missing datasets from the central Nasa servers. Combined with live weather data, height maps, place names and video overlays it's a very powerful and fun tool. Big brother is watching you!