How to create a globe visualization with ThreeJS

//light
const light = new HemisphereLight(0xffffff, 0xbbbbff, 1);
light.position.set(0.5, 1, 0.25);
scene.add(light);

Texture and Bump map

Checkout the example below to see how bump map creates more realistic results.
Bumpmap skin example
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  • Add Texture Loader and bump and texture maps
// Material
const texture = new TextureLoader().load("assets/images/globe/earthmap4k.jpg");
const bumpMap = new TextureLoader().load("assets/images/globe/earthbump4k.jpg");
const material = new MeshPhongMaterial({
// color: 0xffff00 * Math.random(),
specular: 0x222222,
shininess: 25,
bumpMap: bumpMap,
bumpScale: 10,
map: texture,
});

Exercise:

  • Create another sphere slightly bigger than the earth mesh and call it clouds.
  • Assign MeshPhongMaterial and add the properties: {opacity:0.8, transparent: true}
  • Load and assign earhclouds4k.png from the assets folder. Assign the texture as map of clouds material.
  • Set the position of the clouds same as the earth mesh.
  • Add animation slightly faster than earth.
To see how to map real time tweet location data to your globe using web sockets, check out Tweet Migration project.