Hello, naysayers for climate change, welcome to Google Earth Timelapses. Google Earth users can now see the negative effects of climate change over the past forty years before their eyes on the new Timelapse feature. This new feature is the largest review of Google Earth since 2017 and provides concrete evidence of how our planet has evolved as a result of climate change and human behavior.
Announced by Sundar via tweet, Google Earth Timelapse takes still-stage photos of the platform and converts them into powerful 4D videos. Users can check for glaciers, high urban growth, receding snowflakes, and the impact of wildfires on agriculture, etc. with these Timelapses. “Our planet has seen a dramatic change in the environment over the past fifty years – more than at any other point in human history,” explained Fotoi. Timelapses was created by combining millions of satellite images taken from 1984 to 2020 and it took Google two million hours to process and thousands of machines on Google Cloud to achieve this.
To check Timelapse on Google Earth, users can type anywhere in the search bar followed by ‘g.co/Timelapse’ and “select any place in the world where you want to see time go by”. Google explained on the blog that it removes clouds and shadows from images and writes one pixel to all parts of the world each year since 1984. They were all compiled to make Timelapse videos.
Google has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab experts to create technology behind Timelapse. “While we were looking at what was happening, five themes emerged: deforestation, urban growth, global warming, energy sources, and the beauty of our fragile planet. Google Earth takes you to each topic to better understand it,” Google said. The company hopes that governments, journalists, educators, researchers, and climate change advocates will analyze images, identify trends and share their findings with the rest of the world.
Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach, pointed out that Timelapse was possible due to the US and European Union’s commitment to open data and availability and pointed out that all images were provided by NASA, US Geological Survey, European Commission, and the European Space Agency. You added that Google is open to testing similar interactions with ISRO.
Google has said it will update Google Earth every year with new Timelapse videos for the next decade.