Google Earth’s new time-lapse feature shows how the planet changes over time


Although it might be hard to see while going through our day-to-day lives, the Earth is constantly changing around us. Whether it’s erosion, new construction, or changes in water levels over time, such things become apparent when you take a step back. A new time-lapse tool in Google Earth lets you do just that.

It’s hard to believe that Google Earth has been operating for more than 15 years already. What first started as a neat project back in 2005 has evolved into a tool that’s used by businesses and everyday people alike.

Interestingly, the time-lapse tool dates back even further than that. It features 35 years of satellite footage that stretches back to 1984. In a matter of seconds, you can see how the planet has changed over that time. It’s a fascinating thing to witness.

Time is Relative

Older individuals who have lived in one area for most of their lives may be familiar with how the land around them has changed. Perhaps a creek has dried up or businesses have moved in and overtaken farmland.

Regardless of what the change is, most of us just don’t notice while we go about our lives.

However, when viewed through the lens of a time-lapse, it’s impossible to miss the changes that occur. The promotional video put together by Google shows a variety of environments evolving over time. Forests disappear, coastlines are reshaped, artificial islands are constructed, and towns pop up where greenery once prevailed.

The company says that the new time-lapse tool is a way for people to interact with and remember the planet. Of course, there’s no denying the importance of steering people towards environmental conservation efforts.

Humans don’t tend to be kind to the environment. The 35 years of footage contained in the time-lapse tool are proof of that.

How to Use Google Earth’s New Time-Lapse Tool

For those that want to check out how the Earth has changed over time, the new tool in Google Earth couldn’t be easier to use. Simply head over to the Google Earth page.

From there, you can choose a sample area to view. These are the ones found in Google’s video and include things like forests, coastlines, and ice caps. Of course, these areas are hand-selected for the tool since they show some of the most interesting changes over their 35-year journey.

That being said, you can also enter custom locations (including your house) to see how your local environment has changed. Keep in mind that some of the footage (especially from the older years) is pretty grainy and hard to make out. As satellite technology improves over time, the pictures become clearer.

As such, the Google Earth time-lapse tool is a bit of living history not just for how the planet has changed in the past few decades but also how technology has adapted.


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