Google timelapse captures Earth's changes

Images / Google
Images / Google

Twenty-five years of human expansion and environmental devastation across the globe has been illustrated in interactive timelapse graphics by Google.

Google has today released timelapse images which show the growth of Las Vegas, the deforestation of Amazonia rainforest in Brazil, the expansion of a coal mine in Wyoming, the retreat of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska, the emergence of irrigation and crop circles in the Saudi desert, the construction of man-made islands off the Dubai coast, and the drying (and dying) of Lale Urmia in Iran and the inland Aral Sea off Kazakhstan.

The gifs (graphic interchange format) were created from annual images taken from the joint US Geological Survey and NASA mission Landsat between 1984 and 2012, Google Earth Engine and Earth Outreach engineering manager Rebecca Moore wrote on Google's blog.

"We started working with the USGS in 2009 to make this historic archive of earth imagery available online.

Using Google Earth Engine technology, we sifted through 2,068,467 images-a total of 909 terabytes of data-to find the highest-quality pixels (e.g., those without clouds), for every year since 1984 and for every spot on Earth. We then compiled these into enormous planetary images, 1.78 terapixels each, one for each year."

Users can also zoom in on New Zealand and explore the changes to our landscape over the last 25 years. Major changes include the growth of cities such as Auckland, Tauranga, and Nelson, the development of canal projects such as Pauanui and Whitianga and the retreat of Franz and Fox Glacier.

The Landsat mission has been taking images of the Earth's surface since 1972.

TAKE A LOOK:


AUCKLAND

Christchurch

WELLINGTON

Wellington

CHRISTCHURCH

Christchurch

COLUMBIA GLACIER RETREAT

Columbia

DUBAI COASTAL EXPANSION

Columbia

BRAZILIAN AMAZON DEFORESTATION

Columbia

LAS VEGAS URBAN GROWTH

Columbia

- nzherald.co.nz

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