Data + Design Project

7 Shocking Google Earth GIFs of Human Impact on Earth

Friday 05.10.2013 , Posted by
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The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

There’s no doubt about it, humans have reshaped the earth more in the last two hundred years than at any other time in our history… and the last 25 years are no different. Now Google has released a new “interactive map experience” which allows users to view archived satellite data over the last quarter century and in doing so they are giving us perhaps the most clear and valuable view of our recent impact on earth. “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public,” Google said in a statement:

Much like the iconic image of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission — which had a profound effect on many of us—this time-lapse map is not only fascinating to explore, but we also hope it can inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet and the policies that will guide us in the future. A special thanks to all our partners who helped us to make this happen.

The project, made in collaboration with USGS, NASA and TIME, uses an sizable 909 terabytes of data and saw them sift through 2,068,467 images to find the best pixels to cover the earth from 1984 to the current day. It’s a momentous undertaking and one which will certainly aid in helping the human race to see our true impact on the earth. See the GIF images released by Google below, then head to earthengine.google.org to explore the state of the world through the last quarter century.

Brazilian Amazon Deforestation-thumb-650x364-120978

Columbia Glacier Retreat-thumb-650x426-120980

Dubai Coastal Expansion-thumb-650x425-120990

Lake Urmia Drying Up-thumb-650x507-120986

Las-Vegas-Urban-Growth3-thumb-650x365-121079

Saudi Arabia Irrigation-thumb-650x425-120984

Via theatlantic

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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