Mapbox with Unity 3D opens up new ways to showcase geospatial data. We have been experimenting with time-lapse satellite videos of Earth in VR, and are eager to share how visualizing this data could be more immersive. The interactive demo below works in any browser with WebGL. And if you have a Cardboard or similar viewer, use the button to launch a stereo version for the full 3D effect:

Launch VR Demo!
(Requires iOS 10 & Safari/Chrome v54)

Originally built for Oculus Rift using Unity, we ported this demo to WebGL using Three.js to give it broader reach for anyone with a smartphone and Cardboard viewer. We took a day’s satellite observations, warped them from the near-orthographic geostationary perspective to a standard projection, and animated them into a time-lapse movie. The movie is applied to the 3D sphere object as a texture.

The imagery source is Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite. It’s designed to supply meteorologists and their supercomputers, but open datasets always find surprising uses. The starry background is from ESO/S. Brunier. We’re grateful to JAXA for Himawari-8’s data – and we look forward to the launch of its American cousin, GOES-R, in three weeks.

For more on our 3D R&D, read about our games experiments or hit me up on Twitter.