The map projection demos were created by converting the publicly available 5 minute DEM data (courtesy of the NGDC) from the original plain raster format to a registered GeoTIFF image file. The resulting file is read by proprietary Geo-F/X tools and projected using the Geo-F/X projection library. The projection is done in 3D (using OpenGL) The elevations in the DEM file are used to depict the elevations. In the other demos the vertical elevations are exaggerated by 15x - otherwise the earth’s topography is virtually undetectable. In the “gnarly” globe above the elevations are exaggerated 100 times!
The color rendering of the globe is achieved by applying a simple model that relates the earth’s biogeographical distribution to latitude and altitude and assigns colors based on the dominant biogeographical elements of each zone (e.g. desert/scrub brown, tropical forest green, temperate forest dark green, etc.)