To the edge of the Universe and back again
: The evolution of the WorldWide Telescope and the ideas that inspired GeoFlow
More than five years ago,
WorldWide Telescope (WWT)
was launched at the TED conference as the realization of a dream to build a high performance accurate interactive 3D model of the Universe populated by the highest resolution imagery of the heavens from ground and space based telescopes. The goal of the project was to build an interactive spatial temporal data visualization environment that could empower kids of all ages to explore and understand the Universe.
Since that time WWT has garnered more than ten million users of all ages on every continent on Earth. WWT features narrated interactive guided tours of the Universe produced by a wide spectrum of users from a 6 year old talking about the Ring Nebula to educators creating an interactive tour to help 6th graders understand the phases of the moon with a 3D simulation of the Moon's movement around the Earth, to Astrophysicists telling the story of the research to visualize the large scale structure of the Universe. WWT also has the capability to do large scale visualization and is installed in some of the biggest planetariums in the US in San Francisco, New York and Chicago. The Adler Planetarium's 80 megapixel digital dome is showing Cosmic Wonder the first fully interactive planetarium show produced and completely using WWT.
A private internal version of WWT was also used as a prototyping platform to explore challenges of high performance interactive geospatial and temporal data visualization. This research work inspired the Microsoft Office product group to create Project GeoFlow
a geospatial temporal data visualization capability for Office Excel 2013
which is now in public beta preview.
This talk will cover some of the key ideas within WorldWide Telescope and how they are relevant to interactive geospatial data visualization and the development of ideas within GeoFlow.
, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, is responsible for basic and applied research in media and interaction. He has been granted more than 35 patents with 15 more pending. Recently, Curtis has led the effort to enable interactive spatial temporal data visualization as a broad capability for everyone to gain insight into the growing tide of data that is being generated from devices and services. This work, codenamed
, will be released as part of Excel 2013
later in the year and is Microsoft's first geospatial temporal data visualization application for the broad market.
Previously, Curtis conceived and developed Project Tuva in collaboration with Bill Gates
to make the Messenger Series Lectures by acclaimed Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman freely available over the Internet. In 2008 Curtis fulfilled a lifelong goal to create the
WorldWide Telescope (WWT)
, which is a free, rich interactive virtual simulation of the entire visible Universe to enable kids of all ages to explore and understand the Universe.
Prior to Microsoft in 1998, Curtis was Director of Intel Productions in Silicon Valley. Read more>>