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We describe several challenging issues related to virtual globe manipulations for GIS that highlight the important interplay between geometric modeling and scientific visualization. We begin by motivating and describing a globe tessellation algorithm designed to avoid singularities at the poles, then discuss other uses of the tessellation that enable certain types of shape modeling on the surface of the virtual globe. Keywords: level of detail modeling; Web-based retrieval, analysis and visualization.doi:10.3722/cadaps.2009.575-583 fatcat:w5pxobbitnguxo47xtsfoy6rtq