Google has teamed up with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME to launch “Timelapse,” its newest project on its mapping platform Earth Engine.
Timelapse combines 25 milllion images taken by Landsat satellites to show how planet Earth has changed in the last quarter of a century. The images are the products of one of the longest running Earth observing satellite programs in history.
Google stated that it has sifted through 909 terabytes of data from the satellite images in order to find the clearest and sharpest shots of Earth every year from 1984 to 2012. Google then compiled the photos into a single 1.78 terapixel image for each year. Each frame of the Timelapse map represents a year of Landsat satellite data and is comprised of an annual snapshot of the planet at a 30 meter resolution.
Working with CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Google developed the images into easily viewable HTML5 animations. The global timelapse shows how parts of the world’ surface changed through the years, from the growth of Las Vegas in Nevada to glacier retreat in Columbia Alaska.
Other pre-selected locations include the deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil, the Dubai Coastal Expansion, the drying of the Aral Sea as well as of Lake Urmia in Iran. Viewers can also watch the timelapse of center-pivot irrigation sites in Saudi Arabia and the progress of coal mining in Wyoming. Google says the Landsat images provide critical scientific information about the changes in our planet.