Great apps and a huge selection of great apps are a big part of what makes the iPad such an amazing device. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of – from serious productivity to pure entertainment. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Week posts highlight these apps.
This week’s pick is NASA Earth As Art. This is yet another unique and excellent iPad app from NASA. I’ve already chosen several other NASA apps among our past choices here and also included them in our selection of the Best iPad Apps of 2012. I promise I’ll stop featuring so many of them when NASA stops making such great apps.
NASA Earth AS Art offers a fantastic collection of incredible images of earth as seen from satellites. Here’s a little more detail from its App Store page:
In 1960 the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. Over the decades these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth. This app celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere.
The app features stunning images of Earth from the Terra, Landsat 5, Landsat 7, EO-1, and Aqua satellites. Sensors on these satellites can measure light outside of the visible range, so the images show more than what is visible to the naked eye. The app draws on several images from the USGS Landsat image gallery and introduces many new images.
The images in the app are striking and fascinating. I had a guess at where a few of them might be, but I always wanted to tap the Info button on every one of them to find out exactly what I was looking at. The image above, for example, is the Dardzha Peninsula in Turkmenistan, jutting out into the Caspian Sea.
Here’s the Jebel Uweinat image and info overlay:
You can scroll through sections for areas of the world or just browse through all the images in a thumbnails grid. Whichever way you do it, you’ll find yourself wanting to explore more with each image that you take in. The area sections are Africa, Central and East Asia, Europe and West Asia, North America, Oceania, South America, and Oceans, Atmosphere, and Polar Regions.
Here’s just a couple more of the striking images found in this app; of the Namib Desert in Namibia and the Tikehau Atoll in French Polynesia.
This app offers a glimpse at the spectacular views of earth that only satellites, astronauts and maybe some lucky pilots ever get. As soon as you look at one of the images it’s like a book you can’t put down after reading the first sentence.
Here’s an App Store link for NASA Earth As Art.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.