EarthDesk 4 Review

EarthDesk 4 is much more than desktop wallpaper. What EarthDesk 4 gives you is a constantly updating, high-resolution image of the earth as it’s seen from space. Pulling satellite imagery direct from developer Xeric’s servers, you can see the sun traverse the globe, cloud formations gather and move in and street lights come on as night falls. Should you tire of this view you can switch to Political mode, which renders the earth like a colour-coded map.

EarthDesk 4 has 12 different projection modes, from a regular ‘equirectangular’ view to a globe mode. You can choose to centre the map around one of 10,000 cities and watch the cycles of the sun and moon, or you follow these bodies as they make their way across the earth’s surface. The update frequency can be adjusted in the program’s preferences. An added bonus is that EarthDesk keeps perfect time. If all this is too much distraction from your desktop, EarthDesk can be run as a screensaver instead.

For previous users, the main change from version 3 to 4 is that EarthDesk is now a system-preferences item rather than a standalone application. This seems fitting for a tool that amends the look and feel of your GUI. One thing we really missed was the ability to zoom into areas to take a closer look.

OUR VERDICT

Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by Google Earth, but this is quite a different tool, with live updates rather than ancient imagery. EarthDesk literally transforms your Mac’s desktop into a window on the world.

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