Google Earth Timelapse now shows the slow deterioration of our planet
See well the reservoir dries up, oil spills spread and the jungle disappears.
Today, Google has announced its new 3D time-lapse feature Google Earth platform. It allows users to navigate anywhere in the world and press Play to see the change in geography. The time is 37 years, from 1984 to the present. Each time-lapse frame is drawn from one-year images. While playback is in progress, users can move the camera position to view the changing landscape from different angles.
The project is the result of a collaboration between Google, NASA, the US Geological Survey, the European Commission and the European Space Agency. The interactive video combines NASA satellite imagery Landsat program and the EU The Copernicus Project, both with the aim of providing almost continuous images of the planet’s surface. Mixing all these resources together creates a huge amount of data. Google says the time-lapse feature extracts them from 20 petabytes of satellite imagery, combined to create a 4.4-therapy video (i.e., 4.4 million megapixels) that maps the surface of the world.
This is not the first time Google Earth has taken time to re-launch. In 2014 the company released a time-lapse tool within itself Google Earth Engine. It wasn’t a proper feature of the Google Earth app, and was limited to a top-down 2D view.
Google says this new 3D time-lapse is a way to provide more context about the impact humans have had on Earth. In the company’s time-lapse videos, shorelines change, glaciers recede, ice hulls melt.