While the help menu for Living Earth HD proclaims that it’s not “a replacement for the Google Earth app,” the iPhone and iPad utility from developer Moshen Chan is still a pretty good time and weather app.
Launch Living Earth, and you’ll see a large 3D model of the Earth at the center of your screen. To reflect the areas of the world in nighttime and daytime, the globe will have some shaded areas while others will be brightly lit. In addition, clouds scattered about the globe depict satellite weather patterns.
Above the globe, Living Earth displays data on time, date, and weather. You can manipulate the three displays, such as showing what time it is in other cities or changing the temperature to display in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit; you make these changes from a settings menu that’s available below the globe.
The app has some extraneous features, like a function that allows you to upload a picture of the globe to Facebook. But everything in Living Earth HD worked with no hiccups or bugs when I tested it. The app’s globe could be more interactive—it would be nice to be able to zoom in or out on portions of it—but it’s not necessary for enjoying the information has to offer. Living Earth HD may not be Google Earth, but given the information the app does provide, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
[Sam Felsing is a former Macworld intern. He’s currently city editor of the Alameda Sun and a freelancer for various San Francisco Bay Area publications.]