Discover Earth’s Transformations with Google Earth Timelapse

Back in 2013, Google partnered with the US Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME to compile a history of satellite imagery from 1984 to 2012. These images would go on to form the basis of Google Earth’s Timelapse feature. After a long period of inactivity, the search engine giant have decided to roll out a large update to Google Earth and its Timelapse feature, giving everyone a sharper view of the Earth.

Google then collaborated with Landsat Global Archive Consolidation Program and TIME to add "four additional years of imagery and petabytes of new data." Sifting through 5 million satellite images and choosing the best to create 33 images of Earth, one for each year.

Google now display a better Timelapse experience spanning from 1984 to 2016. Better yet, it’s cloud-computing algorithms and the plethora of data also means all images shown on Google Earth are not obstructed by clouds.

sf bridge timelapse

It also allows you to choose a location from the list located below the timeline. If you would like to look at a location this isn’t shown on the list, simply zoom out and scroll to the location of your choosing.

Once you have a location, simply click on the play button to begin the timelapse. The timelapse speed can be toggled between fast and slow depending on your preference.

timelapse speed

With this feature, you’ll be able to watch as a small town grows into a metropolis in a matter of seconds. Fascinated? Here’s more, Google also has satellite pictures of the north and south poles. Thanks to the wonder of Timelapse, you’ll be able to witness the effects of global warming on these locations, both fascinating and terrifying at the same time.