Google Earth users now have the opportunity to see the dramatic impact of climate change over the past four decades. Timelapse, the latest feature of Google Earth, which received the biggest update since 2017, provides visual evidence of how the Earth has changed due to climate change and human behavior, and it opens people’s eyes, so to speak.
This software tool takes static images of the platform and transforms it into a dynamic 4D experience, allowing users to navigate through time slots that highlight melting glaciers, receding glaciers, massive urban growth, and the impact of forest fires on agriculture.
Accompanied by a study in which Google said it took two million processing hours on thousands of machines in Google Cloud, Timelapse compiled 24 million satellite photos taken from 1984 to 2020. For the project, the company worked with the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program, the world’s longest running Earth observation program, the European Union’s Copernicus program, and CREATE Lab, which helps develop the technology behind Sentinel satellites and Carnegie Mellon University.
To see a Timelapse in Google Earth, users simply type in any location in the search bar, be it a landmark or the neighborhood they grew up in. Google said it has extracted elements like clouds and shadows from images and has calculated a single pixel for each location on Earth each year since 1984. As a result, these are combined and turned into a timelapse, or fast motion video.
The company also says it expects governments, researchers, journalists, teachers and advocates to analyze images, identity trends, and share their findings.
“Visual evidence works to the point where words cannot convey complex problems to everyone and can cut the essence of discussion,” Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, wrote in a blog post on the subject on Thursday. said. The company said it hoped governments, researchers, journalists, teachers and advocates would analyze images, identity trends, and share their findings.
“We invite you to take Timelapse into its own hands and share it with others – whether you’re following the growth of megacities on the changing coastline, or you’re following deforestation,” Moore said. “Timelapse in Google Earth is all about pulling away to assess the health and well-being of our only home, and is a tool that educates and inspires action.”