Using the figure file satglobe, which I will upload into the MATLAB Central File Exchange shortly, you can generate fully rendered, rotatable, zoomable views of earth as seen from space. This screen capture was rendered with OpenGL, using a camera light at infinity and specified diffuse and ambient material reflectivities.
The image data was obtained from NASA; the map projection, political boundaries, and gridlines were created using the Mapping Toolbox.
Rendering can be as much art as science, and so graphic design aftertouching on the brightness, contrast, and specular point anomalies was done using standard image editing software, after the image was created in MATLAB. I do not have the image processing toolbox, but I presume this could easily be accomplished with that instead.
Using the SATGLOBE function, the command syntax for this image was:
material([.03 1.5 0])
The OpenGL renderer seems preferable for screen displays, whereas the Zbuffer renderer seems better for image captures such as printing to a JPEG file.
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