Is there software a bit like Google Earth/studio but designed for video/film/fx work without rights issues?

Google Earth allows you to view an Earth globe and then zoom in to a point on Earth (or zoom out/move around Earth). But it’s not designed for video, and even if you use screen (video) capture software to record a tour in that software as far as I know it doesn’t have the rights to be able to be used commercially. And you need to have the copyright info showing if it’s used I think.

There’s Google Earth studio that’s more designed for video but that’s also not designed to be used commercially and not really released properly.

There’s Marble (virtual globe) software that’s based on more public domain stuff but that also shows copyright info on screen (plus the video option doesn’t work for me).

Is there any software available similar to this Google Earth type software but that is more suitable for video work (or effects) - for commercial use (not just personal use). Such as zooming from showing the Earth to near street level then transitioning to footage from a drone (maybe even for drone footage that doesn’t start with it facing downwards)? Would actionvfx be able to produce software like this (even if a quite basic version of it)?

I know 3d software with a model/sphere of Earth could be used with a high res texture but I don’t think that would be enough really either.

I did create version with stock footage of the earth (that zooms a bit) and then used a satellite image to zoom further but it wasn’t exactly what was wanted (plus it doesn’t zoom to street level/match the drone footage start closely).

My idea was, maybe there could be something like Google Earth (studio) but combined with something a bit like the recent Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020?). eg. the recent Microsoft Flight Simulator uses 3d models for buildings etc. and shows trees, runways etc. But the buildings are usually made with generic models. Maybe Google-Earth type software for video/film work could also be made with generic models and textures for things like buildings, trees, fields, lakes etc. but that you could edit somehow (eg. if you wanted it to zoom to a particular location you could edit things so things did look a bit more like the actual location). Plus (unlike Google Earth/Flight Simulator) it wouldn’t need to be rendered in real-time so could give higher quality results.

A version of this for video work could also be used to zoom to places that are fictional or historical or futuristic rather than having it always show as close as possible to how things actually are.

So is there something like this (for video work)? Could something like this be made quite easily? If this isn’t something actionvfx would do maybe they could create assets that could easily be used for something like this?


I use Universesandbox for my space adventure backdrops.
, and my read of their rights is that footage is clear to re-use.

Universe Sandbox | faq


Thank you. It seems good software for showing the entire Earth/planets and doing simulations etc. The usage rights say that if the video is used commercially you have to give attribution in the description. That could be okay (it would be better than having to do it over the video itself).

Though from a youtube video of it I watched it doesn’t seem to zoom down to almost ground level. ie. when the person using the software in the video zooms into Earth it doesn’t show the countries on Earth in a much higher resolution, eg. it doesn’t seem to zoom/go to a level where you could see buildings, trees, small lakes, roads, etc. like you could with software like Google Earth/Microsoft Flight Simulator.

eg. for a particular video that someone had wanted to make they wanted it to zoom down and then match (as seamlessly as possible) the in-point of their drone video that was looking at a lake//buildings/trees type area (with the camera almost horizontal at that point rather than looking straight down), and without a simulated camera zooming/moving down to that level it wouldn’t really match enough/look like one continuous shot I think.

Though that software could be good for other videos, it just doesn’t seem to have the low level detail (trees, buildings, roads, lakes etc.) that I was wondering about software-wise.

I’ve used Cesium for Unreal a few times. It has the globe mapped out and looks best with high level shots like Flight Simulator but you can add photogrammetry to it if you are looking for higher detailed close up shots. I think they changed it where you don’t need the attribution watermark anymore if you are a subscriber but you’ll have to double check. Obviously that would make it non-viable but again, possible.

I made a quick demo video awhile back to kind of show what it can do out of the box.

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