Google Earth now does time travel

Alan Buckingham
May 9, 2013
Google, Google Maps

Google not only sets a goal of collating the world's information, but also is on a quest to map the world. The search giant does this, not only though the basic GPS Google Maps it offers, but with Street View images and satellite imagery that is incorporated into Maps, plus powers Google Earth.

Today Google announces it has brought time travel to Earth. This is not H.G. Wells and you will not see dinosaurs or grasp a picture of the future, but you can look back at recent changes to our little home in this corner of the universe.

"Working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and TIME, we're releasing more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space, compiled for the first time into an interactive time-lapse experience. We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public" claims Google's engineering manager Rebecca Moore.

The new feature is part of Time magazine's new Timelapse. 25 years may seem a drop in the bucket -- and it is given the age of the earth -- but it provides plenty of cool video, such as watching the artificial islands in Dubai being created, and sadder subjects such as glacier retreat and rainforest disappearance.

Google claims it combed 2,068,467 image, a total of 909 terabytes of data, to reach this goal. The results are stunning. I have been playing around with Earth all morning, examining these images in time-lapse videos and found no fault.


Google claims that it hopes "this time-lapse map is not only fascinating to explore, but we also hope it can inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet and the policies that will guide us in the future". Perhaps this can, in some meaningful way, help the state of the world's environment, which seems to be going downhill at an ever-increasing speed.


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  1. Sonic said on May 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    OK that’s pretty cool!

  2. Sina said on May 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Really interesting. Specially Dubai!

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