Earth Outreach

Google Timelapse lets you see how any location on Earth has changed in 32 years

A lot has happened since 1984.

BEC CREW
30 NOV 2016
 

It might not seem like such a long time, but in past three decades, Earth has changed in immeasurable ways, with cities rising, glaciers falling, and unprecedented disasters reshaping the landscape forever. 

With 5 million satellite images taken from 1984 to 2016, Google Earth’s new Timelapse update allows you to go anywhere on the planet, and see a perfect timelapse of the shifting landscape, whether you want to see how your home has fared, or what the hell happened to the Aral Sea.

 

"Using Google Earth Engine, we sifted through about 3 quadrillion pixels - that's 3 followed by 15 zeroes - from more than 5,000,000 satellite images," Chris Herwig, program manager for the Google Earth Engine, writes in a blog post.

"For this latest update, we had access to more images from the past, thanks to the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation Program, and fresh images from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2."

You could easily lose an afternoon just plugging in random locations and seeing what you can find on your own, because it’s truly fascinating just how much the face of Earth has changed in just a few short decades, wherever you look.

Bur for those of you who just want to see the really good stuff, Google has put together a whole bunch of clips on YouTube so you can get your fix.

Let's start with the construction of the Al Khiran Pearl City in Kuwait, which actually looks like aliens are trying to tell us something:

Here’s the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, as it sprawls across the coastal desert, with palm islands blooming in the sea:

Here’s the tiny province of Nuflo de Chavez in Bolivia, which in the past 32 years has fanned out like a kaleidoscope:

Here's Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada:

For some extra sadness, here’s the jewel-hued Aral Sea, between the Southern part of Kazakhstan and Northern Uzbekista, which has almost completely disappeared over the past few decades:

Check out Google Earth Timelapse here to find your own timelapse gems. 

We're just going to sit here and watch the Ucayali River snake through Peru, because that is ridiculously hypnotic: 

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