TerraVision | 1994




video | 01 |

TerraVision is a networked virtual representation of the earth based on satellite images, aerial shots, altitude data and architectural data. It serves as an environment to organize and access information spatially. Users can navigate seamlessly from overviews of the earth to detailed objects in streets and buildings. Additionally to the photorealistic representation of the earth, all kinds of spatial information-data are integrated. Even historical aerial shots are offered in the system. This allows users to navigate not only spatially but also through time. All data are distributed and networked and are streamed into the system according to the user’s needs. TerraVision was the first system to provide a seamless navigation and visualization in a massively large spatial data environment and is a prequel to google earth.
In order to navigate this data, three core components were designed: a large sphere referencing the globe to pilot the planet; a 3D mouse to fly around; and a touch screen to interact with objects on the virtual earth.
TerraVision is an early example of a collaborative project whose users collectively contributed to completing a larger picture – in this case, that of the whole earth.

The project was commissioned in 1994 by Deutsche Telekom and realized in conjunction with my friends and colleagues at ART+COM. Special mention: Pavel Mayer, Axel Schmidt, Gerd Grueneis, Dirk Luesebrink, Hendrik Tramberend, Steffen Meschkat.