Blue Marble

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The classic Blue_Marble photo of Earth was taken by crew of Apollo 17 on their way to the moon in 1972.

In 2002 NASA released an updated version suitable for GIS created by a mosaic of satellite images with the clouds removed. In 2005 this was rereleased, with a separate image provided for each month of the year.

This page deals with importing the latter into GRASS.


To download the maps you have a few choices:

  • The new maps can be found here:

21600x21600 East Hemisphere (401mb)


21600x21600 West Hemisphere (241mb)


The Wget program is nice for downloading these. For example:


  • From the original site (only gzip compressed)

Goto [[3]]

If you are west, download


if you are east, download


If you are in England or West Europe, you will need both files, because they have to overlap.

  • Download them via ED2k Link (bzip2 compressed):

This files have a uncompressed size of 1.4GB each and are in raw RGB format. The bzip2 compressed files are 363MB (east) and 216MB (west) in size.

  • Check if the files are available from

2005 monthly