Google Earth has added a new feature that allows users to have a look at the effect of climate change over the past 37 years. The latest feature, called Timelapse, provides visual evidence of impact on the earth because of climate change. Timelapse is eye-opening visual evidence that has changed static images of the platform into a dynamic 4D experience. Users can see how ice caps are melting, glaciers are receding, and the impact of urbanisation and wildfires on agriculture. 24 million satellite photos have been compiled for this Timelapse. These images are from the year 1984 to 2020.
Google said that the entire effort took two million processing hours which was spread across thousands of machines in Google Cloud. The tech giant worked in collaboration with the US space agency NASA along with several other organisations for this project. It also took support from the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program, Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab and the European Union’s Copernicus program and its Sentinel satellites. They all joined hands to create this amazing Timelapse. Users can easily explore Timelapse in Google Earth. They simply have to type any location into the search bar. Whether it is the location close to their neighborhood or any landmark, Timelapse will show the impact of climate change over the years.
According to Google, Timelapse has been created by removing elements such as clouds and shadows from all the images since 1984. They are then computed into a single pixel for every location. The ultimate stitching resulted in a timelapse video. For example, it is possible to South Korea’s man-made beach in Busan, shifting of Cape Cod coast towards the south and even agricultural growth in the middle of Saudi Arabia’s desert. Google Earth director Rebecca Moore said that Timelapse shows what words cannot express. “Visual evidence is always better than what we say and communicate. Words cannot communicate complex issues,” Moore said in the blog post.