A lot can change in 28 years, and Google has put together a very graphic demonstration of just how much can happen geographically with a new effort that combines global, annual Landsat satellite image composites with its Google Earth Engine software.
The result is a series of interactive time lapse images that progress year-by-year, showing exactly how things have changed in key areas like the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest, booming metropolitan areas like Las Vegas and Dubai, and the progress of large bodies of water like the Aral Sea.
It’s stunning to watch the Amazon rainforest virtually disappear, or see the building creep across the desert in Vegas, or watch the Columbia Glacier vanish entirely. Google worked with the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA and TIME magazine to build the Timelapse project, and went to Carnegie Mello University’s CREATE Lab to build the final HTML5 site that makes the animations interactive and browsable.
Google has also rendered the transformations as animated GIF files, which I feel might inspire a Tumblr somewhere. “This dramatic geographical change is similar to how I feel when my boss yells at me,” etc. For example, my blogger brain before and after massive amounts of caffeine:
Check out the gallery below for a few more examples, or jump to the Google Earth G+ page to see them all.