Google Earth is zooming out to show us how the world is changing over time — a glacier retreating, a coastline eroding, or a housing development building up in the desert.
On Thursday, Google’s 3D mapping tool available on desktop or mobile app added a fourth dimension: time. With Timelapse videos, you can see 24 million satellite photos from the past 37 years stitched together to show a different perspective of the world.
Some Timelapse videos include the Cape Cod coast moving southward or the Columbia Glacier in Alaska retreating over the years. Others show farms developing in Saudi Arabia or suburban sprawl taking over the Las Vegas desert.
Google Earth worked with NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey and the European Union’s Copernicus program to collect and use satellite imagery and data to form a fuller picture of Earth from 1984 through 2020. The program analyzed millions of images that would’ve taken a single computer 228 years to process, but instead took a few days.
You can access Timelapse videos for any location at g.co/Timelapse or click on the ship wheel icon in the application to see curated “tours” or stories from selected locations around the globe.
Google Earth focused its stories on forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, mining, and renewable energy sources, and the world’s fragile, changing beauty.