Google updated Google Earth's features, and added a timelapse mode. The new mode brings together 24 million satellite photos from the last 37 years.

Google Earth update

Google stated that it is the biggest update to Google Earth in years. The last redesign made was back in 2017, as per Wired.

Google Earth timelapses launched a few years already, but on a dedicated site and only in 2D. Now it is in 3D. Since Google Earth lets users visit any place on Earth, users can now see how the places have changed over time.

The update was announced on Thursday, Apr. 15, to the program that allow users to explore the evolution of a location in timelapse form, according to Slash Gear.

Also Read: Google Earth Reveals Nearly 400 Ancient Stone Gates In Saudi Arabia 

Rebecca Moore, the director of Google Earth, Earth Engine, and Outreach, wrote in a blog post that with timelapse in Google Earth, users can have a clearer picture of the changing planet right at our fingertips, one that shows not just problems but also solutions, as well as mesmerizingly beautiful natural phenomena that unfold over decades.

Google stated that it will continue to add new imagery to timelapse every year over the next decade. The project was created in collaboration with NASA, the U.S Geological Survey's Landsat program, and the European Union's Copernicus program.

The internet giant also stated that it worked with Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab on the technology that powers the timelapse feature.

How Google Earth showed effects of climate change

Notably, the timelapse feature of Google Earth showed users the striking effect of climate change over the past four decades. The feature showed visual evidence of how the Earth has changed due to human behavior, causing global warming and climate change.

The feature takes Google Earth's static imagery and turns it into a dynamic 4D experience, so users can click through timelapses that highlight melting ice caps, receding glaciers, massive urban growth and wildfires that affected agriculture.

According to CTV News, the timelapse covers photos taken from 1984 to 2020, an effort that took Google 2 million processing hours across thousands of machines in Google Cloud.

To explore Google Earth's timelapse feature, users can type any location into the search bar to see it in motion. Users can type in landmarks, neighborhoods, cities, countries and more. User can take virtual tours as well.

Google stated it removed elements like shadows and clouds from the images, and computed a single pixel for every location on Earth for every year since 1984, stitching them together into a timelapse video.

This means that it is possible to see the Cap Cod coast slowly shifting south, the agriculture growth in the middle of a desert in Al Jowf, Saudi Arabia, and the development of Songdo beach, which is a man-made beach in Busan, South Korea.

Moore added that visual evidence can cut to the core of the debate in a way that words cannot, and communicate complex issues to everyone.

Google also created numerous guided tours through Voyager, which is a storytelling platform, around some of the broader changes seen in the imagery.

The company stated that it hopes governments, journalists, researchers, teachers and advocates can use the imageries and analyze it, identify the trends and share their findings.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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