Google Earth has been gathering imagery from satellites for 15 years, offering anyone with an internet connection stunning views of our planet from any altitude.
The tool, which launched in 2001, is packed with features, including one called Timelapse, which lets you see how a particular location has changed over the years, whether through urban development, deforestation, climate change, or some other influence.
This week, Google rolled out an update to Timelapse that adds new aerial imagery from 2021 and 2022. It means that you can now watch changes to the landscape unfold over nearly four decades, starting in 1984.
“Timelapse in Google Earth is a global, zoomable time-lapse video of the planet, providing evidence of Earth’s dynamic changes, from irrigation systems emerging in the deserts of Egypt and meandering rivers shifting over time in the Amazon rainforest in Pucallpa, Peru to volcanic eruptions, logging, and wildfires changing the landscape of California’s Lassen National Forest,” Google Earth Engine program manager Chris Herwig writes in a blog post announcing this week’s update.
Herwig adds: “The imagery also captures ways cities have adapted to combat climate change — like offshore wind farms in Middelgrunden, Denmark, and a large-scale solar installation in Granada, Spain.”
You can peruse the planet by yourself, selecting any location you like to see how it’s changed over time or select one of Google Earth’s own offerings, such as Las Vegas or Dubai, both of which have undergone major urban development in recent decades.
Besides using the Google Earth tool itself, you can also explore a library of 800 Timelapse videos from more than 300 locations around the world.
Most of the videos include 2D and 3D versions, with Google Earth introducing the latter in the last major update for Timelapse in 2021.
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