KDE Marble is an open source project for Windows, Linux, Mac and other smartphone platforms. It features a virtual globe and world atlas (similar to Google Earth) where you can explore whole world to the street level. It is developed by the KDE open source community. You can choose from different map styles, including Atlas, Plain, Precipitation Map, Satellite (terrain), Open Street Map, Earth at Night and others. It allows you to choose even other celestial bodies like Moon etc.
You can download Marble from its official KDE website. The downloads are available in form of setup installers for Windows, Mac, Linux and some mobile platforms. The download is also available as a portable application for Windows. After the installation in Windows, you can run it from the Start Menu shortcut. In the start, it shows the virtual globe view of the planet Earth. You can zoom in, zoom out, move in four directions (up, down, left and right) using the controls under the Navigation tab on the left.
You can change the projection of the map under the Map View on the left side. Switching to Flat Map shows the world map in the flat mode like you usually see in school atlas. The map style or Theme can also be changed to plain, precipitation map, temperature map, atlas map, satellite map, open street map and more. The data for displaying these special themed maps is downloaded from the internet. Compared to Google Earth, the KDE Marble software downloads very small amount of data and is therefore faster.
Like Google Maps, Marble also allows you to find the shortest route between two locations. Under the Routing tab on the left side, you have to specify two locations – A and B. After typing the full or partial addresses of the locations, select the route type (car, bicycle, pedestrian etc.) and click on the Search button. This would show the route on the map as well as directions to drive, paddle or walk from one location to another.
The KDE Marble application also has features like voice navigation, turn-by-turn navigation, distance calculation, geo-positioning and tracking (it can track your current location and tell you where you are at present), weather, realtime clouds, address search, postal code search and many more. This is a very robust and feature rich application for your PC and smartphone.
You can download KDE Marble from http://marble.kde.org/.