NASA WorldWind Project Suspension FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the upcoming NASA WorldWind project suspension on May 3, 2019. If you have questions and/or concerns not addressed in this FAQ, please feel free to email at:

Programmatic Questions

What is WorldWind?

WorldWind is an open source virtual globe API. WorldWind allows developers to quickly and easily create interactive visualizations of 3D globe, map and geographical information. Organizations around the world use WorldWind to monitor weather patterns, visualize cities and terrain, track vehicle movement, analyze geospatial data and educate humanity about the Earth. Learn more at

What is the status of the WorldWind project?

As of May 3, 2019, the WorldWind project at NASA has been suspended. This means that the management and development team at NASA Ames Research Center is no longer actively supporting WorldWind. If you have more specific questions about the status, please send an email to

Why was the NASA WorldWind project suspended?

At this time, we have exhausted available funds to sustain the NASA WorldWind project. Therefore, the WorldWind services and development activities are planned to be suspended indefinitely after May 3rd.

What is the status of the WorldWind geospatial data servers?

As of May 3, 2019, the WorldWind geospatial data servers at NASA Ames Research Center have been shut down. WorldWind applications that rely on those servers may not function properly. Additional information is available in the Technical Questions section.

When will the WorldWind project and/or geospatial data servers resume operations?

The WorldWind services and development activities are planned to be suspended indefinitely after May 3rd. During this suspension, Center and project management are working to organize the WorldWind project to enhance its viability and improve the long-term sustainability.

Are the WorldWind Software Development Kits (SDKs) still available?

Yes. The GitHub repository with the WorldWind SDKs is still operational at However, development and support of the official NASA releases of the SDKs will cease on May 3rd.

How does the WorldWind project suspension affect the software license?

NASA released the WorldWind software under the Apache V2 and NASA Open Source Agreement (NOSA) licenses. Those licenses remain in effect and unchanged.

Will the WorldWind’s project website be kept online?

The project’s information website, will maintain operations in the foreseeable future.

Technical Questions

Will my WorldWind app stop working?

Depending on its reliance on WorldWind’s data servers, an application may not function properly. This includes geospatial data servers like tiled imagery, elevations, and place names. Network requests directed to an * domain will fail past May 3, 2019, and an application that relies on them will encounter operational issues.

A WorldWind application that does not rely on the servers located at NASA Ames Research Center will continue to work without issues.

How do I know if my WorldWind app uses the suspended NASA geospatial data servers?

Any service request from the application that is directed to an * domain will fail past May 3, 2019. Applications with geospatial data caches retrieved from an * domain will continue to have access to those caches. New geospatial data requests for imagery and elevations to an * server will result in an HTTP error. Caching on the client’s side may therefore conceal the fact that these servers are no longer responding. For assurance on whether the application utilizes NASA WorldWind geospatial data services, a network traffic monitoring tool is suggested to verify if requests to * domains are being performed.

What are the alternatives to using the NASA geospatial data servers?

The WorldWind geospatial data servers operate according to open geospatial standards like WMS, WFS and WCS as maintained by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The 3D globe SDKs can consume geospatial data from any web service compliant with such open standards, thus making it an alternative source of geospatial data. If your WorldWind application relies on decommissioned NASA geospatial data servers, consider modifying it to obtain its data from other sources. Below are some public, OGC-compliant services that may be used. Note that services from sources outside of NASA are listed for information purposes only, NASA does not officially endorse or recommend these services.

NASA Near Earth Observation (WMS)
USGS National Map, place names, elevations (WMS)
NGA GEOnet names server names and features, many service types.
NASA Global Imagery Browse Services (WMTS)

Which services will stop functioning?

The following geospatial data services will be taken offline after May 3rd. The table below lists the servers and indicates which WorldWind SDK is preconfigured to use it, including WorldWind Java (WWJ), WorldWind Android (WWA), and Web WorldWind (WWW).

Service URLPreconfigured in WorldWind SDKType
worldwind20.arc.nasa.govWWJImagery names, WWAImagery, WWAElevations, WWWElevations

Besides the geospatial data services, the following file services will be taken offline. These provide ancillary files for Web WorldWind.

How do I serve elevations to WorldWind?

The WorldWind team has no recommendations and has not identified any workarounds to this issue.

Will the WorldWind terrain and elevation data be made available for download?

There are no plans to make the terrain and elevation data from the WorldWind servers available for direct downloading. Users are also discouraged from trying to “scrape” the data from the WorldWind servers directly, since such attempts may disrupted the server availability.

Will development continue on the WorldWind SDKs?

During the suspension all development and maintenance of the official NASA WorldWind SDKs will cease.

Are there plans to move the hosting of the WorldWind terrain and elevation data to another server?

No. NASA has no plans to host the data on alternate NASA servers.

NASA WorldWind Project Notice

Currently WorldWind is undergoing system evaluation. We will not be able to accept any software update requests. WorldWind users can continue to access the NASA servers and SDKs, available on Github. More information will be provided in the near future.