Google has updated their Timelapse feature on Google Earth, allowing you to scrub satellite imagery from all over the globe back in forth in time.
This interactive experience enabled people to explore these changes like never before — to watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we’re making our largest update to Timelapse yet, with four additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016.
A good way to experience some of the most compelling locations is through the YouTube playlist embedded above…just let it run for a few minutes. Some favorite videos are the circular farmland in Al Jowf, Saudi Arabia, the disappearing Aral Sea, the erosion of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, the urban growth of Chongqing, China, the alarmingly quick retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and this meandering river in Tibet.
The Google Earth Time Machine blog uses Google’s historical satellite maps to make now-and-then comparisons of interesting places around the world. Like the transformation of this Texas river bend into an oxbow lake over 60+ years:
Clement Valla collects Google Earth images where the 2-D to 3-D terrain mapping doesn’t work as well as it should. (via lens culture)
North Korea is in the news. Not much is known about the secretive country, but a group of interested citizens has been mapping North Korea on Google Earth using snippets of news reports here and there.
More than 35,000 people have downloaded Mr. Melvin’s file, North Korea Uncovered. It has grown to include thousands of tags in categories such as “nuclear issues” (alleged reactors, missile storage), dams (more than 1,200 countrywide) and restaurants (47). Its Wikipedia approach to spying shows how Soviet-style secrecy is facing a new challenge from the Internet’s power to unite a disparate community of busybodies.
“Here is one of the most closed countries in the world and yet, through this effort on the Internet by a bunch of strangers, the country’s visible secrets are being published,” says Martyn Williams, a Tokyo-based technology journalist who recently sent Mr. Melvin the locations of about 30 North Korean lighthouses.
Update: The map itself is available here. (thx, brian)
There’s a fascinating tidbit in this Google blog post about the non-discovery of Atlantis in Google Earth. It concerns how the depth of the ocean floor is measured.
Now you’re probably wondering where the rest of the depth data comes from if there are such big gaps from echosounding. We do our best to predict what the sea floor looks like based on what we can measure much more easily: the water surface. Above large underwater mountains (seamounts), the surface of the ocean is actually higher than in surrounding areas. These seamounts actually increase gravity in the area, which attracts more water and causes sea level to be slightly higher. The changes in water height are measurable using radar on satellites.
Wow! (via ben fry)
Wow, Google Earth is now available for the iPhone. The early reviews at the iTunes Store are mixed; looks like it’s crashing a lot. (via df)
Kristin Armstrong, the Olympic gold medalist in the women’s individual time trial in road cycling, took a GPS unit along with her when she previewed the road course in Beijing in December 2007. When she got home to Idaho, she d/led the data, put it into Google Earth, and found a similar local loop on which to train.
This capability along with having the elevation profile proved invaluable in my preparation for my Gold Medal race.
(via matt’s a.whole)
The newest version of Google Earth includes 3-D photorealistic buildings, sunlight (with shadows on those realistic 3-D buildings), and a Spiderman-esque swooping action. Here’s a “photo” I snapped of downtown San Francisco.
You can just see the 3-D photorealistic Golden Gate Bridge peeking up in the background. See some more examples at Google’s LatLong blog.
Google Earth now displays location-specific news from the NY Times.
I read a lot of news by surfing the Internet, as do many of my colleagues and friends, and I’ve always dreamed of a way to browse news based on geography. What’s happening in Paris today? What are the top headlines in Japan?
God’s Eye View presents four important Biblical events as if captured by Google Earth, including The Crucifixion, Noah’s Ark, and Moses parting the Red Sea.
Google Earth recently added some maps from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection to their software, so you can just click them on and off on the globe. Included are a US map from 1833, a 1680 map of Tokyo, Paris from 1716, and a world map from 1790. I spent some time exploring the map of New York from 1836. Here’s a screenshot of the southern tip of Manhattan with the present-day buildings turned on:
A larger version is available on Flickr. Google Earth continues to be a fantastic software product. It’s almost more of a game than an atlas or educational program…so much fun.
Related: I did a project using Google Earth called Manhattan Elsewhere and made a scrollable, zoomable version of Viele’s Map of Manhattan.
Eyebeam’s Mike Frumin has released OGLE (OpenGL Extrator), a software package for extracting 3-D data from Windows applications. This means you can do stuff like grab the 3-D likeness of your World of Warcraft character and print it out on a 3-D printer or insert him into a Manhattan landscape (grabbed from Google Earth). Announcement here.
A first look at Google Earth, the replacement for the Keyhole mapping software. “View Railroads, Subway lines and Bus routes along with all their stops. Or select multiple locations and have Google give you directions.”