Earth Engine: decades of Landsat photographs, animated

Posted on Friday, May 10th, 02013 by Austin Brown
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timelapse

Humans have been telling stories about space for generations, but now space is starting to tell stories about us. By putting satellites into orbit pointed not out at the stars, but in at our selves, and simply letting the cameras roll, we can see ourselves in aggregate, growing and changing. NASA’s Landsat program has recorded millions of photographs of the Earth’s surface since 01972 and Google has recently marshaled its significant computational power to organize that massive dataset into watchable video of our planet’s surface.

These Timelapse pictures tell the pretty and not-so-pretty story of a finite planet and how its residents are treating it — razing even as we build, destroying even as we preserve. It takes a certain amount of courage to look at the videos, but once you start, it’s impossible to look away.

– Time Magazine

  • caramia2002

    An amazing project and wonderful blog, which I have yet to finish, due to the detail of the history of Google images. I wish the time-lapse had been slowed down a bit when they restored it (not the original photos, of course, as they had to be taken at a certain frame rate, but the final product goes by too fast to take it all in). I find that I want to linger over them longer.

  • Seeing is believing. Here is a new perspective on Anthropogenic
    global climate change. Each timelapse series is impressive and should remove any doubt that humanity’s impact is planetary in scale.

    Las Vegas looks like anthracnose fed by lake Mead. (Looks
    like fresh water scarcity is just around the bend.)

    And, as the years tick by, the Wyoming coal mining looks
    like iterations of Conway’s Game of Life.

  • David Thau

    Hi all,

    Clicking on the year here: http://earthengine.google.org/#intro/LasVegas

    Lets you slow down the time.


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