Windows on Earth

Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day for science research, education and public outreach. The photos are often dramatic, helping us all appreciate our home, planet Earth.

Since building the initial location engine for the first museum exhibit back in 2006 for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, my involvement has significantly increased from a simple contractor to the primary architect and developer for all following applications that make up the entirety of the Windows on Earth suite.

Over the last five years we've been able to significantly increase the scope of this initiative to include: two distinct museum exhibits, an onboard software application for use aboard the International Space station (ISS), a Photo Location Editor to rotate and adjust geo-location data of photos, a camera simulator to reproduce the orientation of the camera that had taken a photo and a whole host of support applications and scripts for bulk processing of the hundreds of photographs taken daily by the astronauts aboard the ISS.


Museum of Flight Exhibit: Technology Overview
AGI Headquarters, 30-Mar-2015


ISS Tracker

ISS Tracker is an adventure I embarked upon early 2008. Born out of the frustration with the overly complicated websites that only an experienced HAM radio operator could understand. I knew I could build a website that even novice grandparent could visit with their grandchild and be able to comprehend immediately so they can share an experience with their loved ones. 

Since it's inception there have been two publicly released versions of ISS Tracker. The second generation was released mid-Dec 2010 sporting an entirely reimagined user interface and HUD thanks to Julie-Ann Burkhart. Since 2011 there have actually been many updates to the site, they just go unnoticed as they have been server configuration related. ISS Tracker is now a cloud based high availability website with geo-located servers handling  high volumes of web traffic from around the world.

Over the years ISS Tracker has also been featured in several major broadcasts by National Geographic, Channel 4 and Space Lab. Cited as a reference by Daily Nightly News and countless others. A special fullscreen edition is on permanent display in the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and there's even an embeddable version.

This is by no means the finish line for ISS Tracker either, I've been working on a whole new version that I hope to be able to release in the coming months. It's a ground up rebuild, focusing on responsive redesign, thus allowing mobile devices and tablets the ultimate experience.  I have a few other new features that I want to keep a secret for now, but stay tuned for some exciting new features.