Facebook icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon RSS icon Flickr icon

Visualize it!

Visualize it!

Interactive maps and video tours are fun and engaging ways to present information. Now students can learn to create their own!

The Arizona Experience has teamed up with leading-edge software creators to help bring data visualization applications into classrooms.

Worldwide Telescope

Worldwide Telescope (WWT) is a data visualization application that allows users to explore the Earth, the solar system, and the Milky Way. Developed by Microsoft Research with the software name Layerscape, this program places the user in control of a virtual camera that can be instructed to view runtime-generated three-dimensional scale models of planet Earth and other bodies in the solar system, as well as panoramic composite images of Mars and the moon. View the night sky as seen from Earth, then zoom in for a closer look at nebulae and constellations, or check out a map of cosmic microwave background radiation.

Though WWT-Layerscape has been touring the cosmos for several years, it has recently turned its sights toward Earth, using Bing Maps to create a virtual globe in the style of Google Earth.

WWT-Layerscape allows you to share what you see by creating guided tours: self-contained multimedia presentations in which you direct the camera. These tours are structured much like presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint: they are built from slides and may contain images and sound to go with animated camera movement. 

Classroom ​Use

This tour conveys 200 years of Arizona’s earthquakes quickly and effectively.

In the classroom, Worldwide Telescope facilitates learning in three different ways. At its most basic level, Worldwide Telescope allows students to explore and learn about the Earth and sky. Additionally, Worldwide Telescope provides students with a platform to construct multimedia presentations, allowing students to learn how to transform data into an informative product. Finally, students using Worldwide Telescope learn about the importance of data management and the relationship between data, data visualization, and data applications.

“Flythrough” style tours with a movable camera are not the only option this software offers. Static maps with events occurring as a time function create powerful visualizations with a relatively small amount of data.

Download earthquake data set in comma-separated values (CSV) format.

Please note: this data and this tour are used for instructional purposes only and do not represent the most current information on Arizona earthquakes. Earthquake data is compiled from the Arizona Geological Survey and Northern Arizona University hazard viewer.

WWT-Layerscape Tutorials

PowerPoint tutorials and guides can help you understand and implement this free technology.

“Creating Tours in Worldwide Telescope” is a short instructional booklet with an introduction WWT-Layerscape and the principles of creating a basic tour.

Open “Creating Tours in Worldwide Telescope

Microsoft Research is developing a series of comprehensive PowerPoint guides for WWT-Layerscape. Session A helps you create, transfer, and play with data in WWT. 

View “Layerscape Workshop Session A” PowerPoint presentation.

Endless Possibilities

Check out some original tours by The Arizona Experience to help decide the nature of your tour.

Encounter Monument Valley

Encounter Monument Valley. Find more tours on the Iconic Landscapes map


Discover the Tiger Mine. Read the Gems and Precious Minerals article.


Download the Worldwide Telescope PDF guide