Google Earth launches new Timelapse tool

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Watch the time go by before your eyes: Google Earth launches a new Time Lapse tool to help you discover how the world has changed over the past four decades

  • Google’s Timelapse tool will be built into the already existing Google Earth platform
  • It allows users to see in detail how part of the world has changed over the decades
  • No part of the world is off limits to the technology powered by images from NASA and the EU

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Google Earth is launching a new feature called Timelapse that allows users to see how a piece of land has transformed over time.

The update is hailed by the tech company as the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017.

More than 24 million photos taken by orbiting satellites and collected by the search giant reveal the rapid change our world has undergone over the past few decades.

Users will be able to look at real-world evidence of climate change, signs of agricultural expansion, and the vast spread of thriving urban metropolises.

Google Earth allows people to see any part of the world in 4D, but was previously limited to the most recent satellite data.

But now, historical images from NASA and the EU have been fed into the platform to allow people to compare what a piece of land looks like today compared to days gone by.

Users can do it Timelapse function in Google Earth and go to any place on the planet to see how it changes over time.

They are shown a variety of collections covering areas of particular interest and information about the available dataset.

Google Earth allows people to see any part of the world in 4D, but was previously limited to the most recent satellite data.  But now, historical images from NASA and the EU have been fed into the platform to allow people to compare what a piece of land looks like today compared to days gone by.

Google Earth allows people to see any part of the world in 4D, but was previously limited to the most recent satellite data. But now, historical images from NASA and the EU have been fed into the platform to allow people to compare what a piece of land looks like today compared to days gone by.

Google Earth has released more than 800 videos of Time Lapse data for the public to view without having to search for them on Google Earth, which will be published on YouTube (photo)

Google Earth has released more than 800 videos of Time Lapse data for the public to view without having to search for them on Google Earth, which will be published on YouTube (photo)

“Creating a planet-sized time-lapse video required a significant amount of what we call pixel crunching in Earth Engine, Google’s cloud-based geospatial analysis platform,” Google said in a blog post.

To add animated Timelapse images to Google Earth, we collected more than 24 million satellite images from 1984 to 2020, representing quadrillion pixels.

“It took over two million processing hours on thousands of machines in Google Cloud to merge 20 petabytes of satellite images into a single 4.4 terapixel video mosaic – that’s the equivalent of 530,000 videos in 4K resolution!”

Satellite programs such as NASA’s Landsat and the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the EU’s Copernicus program fed the data Google used to create Timelapse.

Google said it would also be open to partnering with other space agencies that may have more satellite imagery available, such as JAXA and ISRO, if they share the open data dreams of Google, NASA and the EU.

Examples of the power of Timelapse include seeing the growth of Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in the US in recent decades;  see forests disappear;  watch as glaciers disappear;  watch the construction of the UAE's artificial Palm Islands;  and see huge solar parks popping up

Examples of the power of Timelapse include seeing the growth of Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in the US in recent decades; see forests disappear; watch as glaciers disappear; watch the construction of the UAE’s artificial Palm Islands; and see huge solar parks popping up

Timelapse developers say there are no restrictions on what a person can look at, with the resolution and clarity of a resolution low enough not to pose a security risk.

Therefore, military bases and other confidential areas will not be removed or muzzled.

Google Earth has released more than 800 videos of Time Lapse data for the public to view without having to search for them on Google Earth, which will be published on YouTube.

Examples of the power of Timelapse include seeing the growth of Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in the US in recent decades; see forests disappear; watch as glaciers disappear; watch the construction of the UAE’s artificial Palm Islands; and see huge solar parks popping up.

“When we looked at what was happening, five themes emerged: forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, energy resources and the fragile beauty of our world,” says Google.

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