Google Earth is getting its “biggest update since 2017,” though there’s only one major thing you’ll see here. The novelty is that you will be able to see a 37-year timelapse of the entire planet or a specific place that you want to see. The 3D timelapse feature shows annual footage since 1984 and you will also be able to see the changing landscape from different angles. This project is a collaboration between Google, NASA, the US Geological Survey, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.
In the timelapse you’ll see, each frame is taken from a year of footage taken from satellite images from NASA’s Landsat program and the EU’s Corpernicus project. It sounds simple enough, but it’s a lot of data combined to give you a few seconds of timelapse. In fact, Google says they are tapping into 20 petabytes of satellite imagery and combined to create a 4.4 terapixel video.
To see this incredible timelapse, go to g.co/Timelapse and use the search bar to go to any location you want to see. You can also open the Google Earth app and click on the ship’s wheel to access the Timelapse. There are also over 800 Timelapse videos available in 2D or 3D which you can find at g.co/TimelapseVideos. While watching the time-lapse view, you can also move the camera position to view it from different angles.
While it’s pretty cool to see our Earth over the years in a quick video, it’s also reassuring to see how much the Earth has changed over the years through four decades of planetary change. The past half century has seen more environmental change than any other time in human history. Climate change is a concept that has been brought up quite often, but which sometimes seems abstract to some who have not felt the effects firsthand.
Google is hoping that the Timelapse feature on Google Earth will help give people a clearer picture that our planet is changing and that we need to work on solutions that can help alleviate the issues we face. You can now view and explore the feature in the Google Earth app or in the browser.