I like innovative Mac applications. This one is know different. It is called EarthDesk and is designed to display an accurate picture of planet Earth on your desktop. It is really funky and an interesting way of keeping your desktop interesting and dynamic. I really enjoy having it on my desktop. It livens things up a bit.
Earthdesk is slightly different to most applications your find. First off it is run from a preference pane. There is no dock appliction a as such, although there is a quick launch menu item. It is designed to be set up and enjoyed. There are lots of little features which you can change and adjust. These are explained later.
In a nutshell, what happens when you render the application is a “live” image of the earth is projected onto your desktop. This is a graphical image of earth with overlays of clouds and the night, with city lights. Its a clever way of seeing what state the earth is currently in. It is also quite useful in finding out what time it is roughly in a specific location. This live projection moves throughout the day as shown below, gathering data from the Internet to render your image.
There are hundreds of configurable options. Such as map type, shading, centering. Amount of detail, zoom as well as update intervals. You can really fiddle with how your desktop wallpaper looks and works. Like I have said it is constantly changing. As a result you don’t see the same boring image.
There are a couple of niggles I have found with this program. One example is the render time. It takes quite a while to update your desktop image. As well as this it seems to be optimized only for single core, meaning it takes twice as long as it could. Thankfully it only needs to render every couple of hours. Another problem which I have found is that the clouds don’t seem to update as often as they should. Mayby clouds don’t move that fast or I can’t work the settings.
This program does cost $24.95. It is reasonably priced for what you get. You can spend a long time adjusting the settings and getting it work for you. In the long run it is probably worth it. There is also a Windows version which I assume is a bonus.
Update: I’ve found a cool view that you may be interested in. If you want to replicate the view in the image below. First add your location in the locations tab in the preferences pane. Then in the display tab set the zoom to about ~130%, projection to Globe and Centering to your locations. Pretty cool. All I need now is to clear the junk on my desktop. I might get this application, its pretty cool.