Google Timelapse shows a changing Earth in animated form

May 9, 2013
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Google has launched a new project called Timelapse that allows users to see the history of the Earth all the way back to 1984 and view how our planet has changed over the past 28 years. You can view any part of the world, just like in Google Earth, except that Timelapse automatically creates an animated timelapse GIF based on what you're looking at.

The project was created in HTML5, and it's a result of the efforts between Google partnerships with the US Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and Time Magazine. The satellite images collected over the years are from Landsat, which is the longest-running satellite program ever when it comes to snapping photos of the Earth, with over two million images taken so far.

Of course, not every image was used. Google actually had to sift through those couple millions of images to find the best ones (909 TB of data to be exact). After that, they created a huge image of the Earth (one for each year), which rings in at 1.78 TB per image. With 28 years, that's a total of 49.84 TB of imagery in this project.

Google was kind enough to offer up some animated GIFs ready to view right away of various hot spots on Earth, including Dubai, Las Vegas, and the Columbia glacier retreat. And yes, Timelapse will allow you to visit your hometown to see what it looked like from the sky back in 1984. It's certainly surprising to see how much the Earth has changed over the last 28 years.


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