The live stream of Earth images will be enabled by cameras on the International Space Station as it orbits around the planet, TechNewsDaily reported. UrtheCast, pronounced Earth Cast, will be powered by two cameras aboard the ISS providing a high-def look at Earth beamed from outer space.
Users of the Earth live stream view it on a computer or a smartphone, and it will feature an amazing array of features that will let people control their views of Earth, according to UrtheCast. The live stream will be almost in real time, which means Urthecast could be used to track some breaking developments on Earth with a view that cannot be beat. It goes beyond a bird’s-eye view and could even be classified as a god’s-eye view of Earth.
UrtheCast described the experience as if “you’re interacting with a mashup of Google Earth and YouTube.” UrtheCast will let users zoom in, pan across the viewing area, and search the live stream for events or locations. Best of all, this live stream will be free. UrtheCast plans to create 3-D models of cities using the different angles captured by the cameras aboard the ISS.
Those fearing a Big Brother-type “eye in the sky” should not worry as the camera’s resolution is not high enough to capture individual actions or faces, but it will let users see groups of individuals, roads, large expanses of terrain, and cities. “You'll never see the guy mowing the lawn in his backyard,” UrtheCast President Scott Larson said, “but you will be able to see a white golf cart on a green lawn,” according to TechNewsDaily.
UrtheCast users will be able to save the live-stream images as videos and search for them later, creating a social aspect to the live stream where users can view others' saved videos.
Additionally, UrtheCast will give a user the chance to know when the ISS will be orbiting over his or her address, TechNewsDaily reported, so if you want to be creative, you can generate a message that can be seen from space. Expect plenty of flash mobs and interesting messages to be shared as soon as UrtheCast is available to the public.
UrtheCast plans to share its data with developers, and there will be a paid aspect to the service, which will help fund the free live stream of Earth. Its paid service will give users even more data and detail, so governments could be among its customers.
On UrtheCast's website, Larson said its service could be used in multiple ways: “Coffee traders look at the coffee fields and say, ‘Is this going to be a good year for coffee or bad, do we need to import, do we need to export, is the price going to go up or down?’ Hedge funds will count the cars in Walmart parking lots to determine same-store sales.”
UrtheCast plans to attach the two cameras to the ISS in the fall, and the stream will be available soon thereafter. You can view a video of how UrtheCast will work below.