Google has provided a rather nifty and fun to use tool to visualise and see how rapidly nations have grown over the last few decades and while that’s a positive aspect of the tool, there is also a darker side – it reveals how badly climate change has impacted our planet Earth.
Google provided us one of the most useful tools – Google Earth – to enable all of us to see places which we might not be able to ever visit. Built on the same concept but offering a window to last 32 years of changes on Earth is Google Timelapse.
Created using millions of images of Earth from a number of satellites, Google Timelapse shows the progress of humans in the last 32 years; how nations have improved their infrastructure; how cities have grown; how land has shrunk; how oceans have expanded; how islands have vanished or resurfaced; and how climate change is impacting our planet Earth among other things. While the tool is fun to use and quite informative and educational, it also shows the dark side of human development with drastic changes that climate change has brought upon Earth.
Google resorted to data from a number of satellites including the NASA Landsat Program, Copernicus Sentinel Program, and others to come up with a whopping five million satellite images and stitched them together to create timelapsed videos spanning 32 years of major places and countries around the world.
The end result was a total of 33 cloud-free annual mosaics starting from 1984 right through to the current year i.e. 2016. Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab’s Time Machine library has made the whole thing interactive and this technology is all about creating and viewing zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time.
Google says that its Timelapse feature is an example of how powerful its Earth Engine and its cloud-computing model is and using this engine, scientists, researchers, and journalists around the world can not only detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface using Google’s computational infrastructure, but can also garner more information about climate change, infrastructure development, increase and decrease in landmasses owing to expansion or reduction in sea-shore lines, among other things.