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Google Earth Timelapse (earthengine.google.com)
444 points by sabalaba on July 31, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 101 comments

Trivia: On the "Construction of the Bay Bridge" one, pan down to the Southeast a little to the Alameda Naval Air Station. In 2001 you can see the construction of the freeway set[1] used for The Matrix Reloaded.

Direct link to view: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=37.79184,-122.334...

[1] - http://www.filminamerica.com/Movies/TheMatrixReloaded/Freewa...

No idea what you are talking about. Sadly, there weren’t any follow up movies to The Matrix.

The second one was alright. There was a lot of interesting lore in it.

The person you're replying to is making a joke. The general meta-structure of said joke is that if something is considered particularly bad, its existence is denied, i.e., "1: SCRUBS only had eight seasons. 2: But what about that one where they were teach-- 1: SCRUBS ONLY HAD EIGHT SEASONS." Etc.

I think the person you're replying to got the joke, and responded to the implied claim that the sequels were bad.

There'is no person to whom he is replying.

As I have a 3440x1440 screen it just shows all the city and a bunch of the surrounding area I cant find it. I love that move scene went to see it with friend in theaters like 20 times. Every time I play GTA with 5 stars I remember Morpheus saying "never get on the highway"

Some interesting links:

Beijing and Shenzhen's rapid urbanization: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=39.90419,116.4073...

Deforestation in Brazil: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=-9.27665,-58.5151...

Vegas is a really good one in the US since you can see it gobbling up the desert: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=36.16451,-115.217...

And also that big lake next to it rapidly disappearing. Isn’t that something to worry about?

Long term probably, but likely more because of decreased access to snow melt & increased evaporation rather than increased demand.

> Changing rainfall patterns, climate variability, high levels of evaporation, reduced snow melt runoff, and current water use patterns are putting pressure on water management resources at Lake Mead as the population relying on it for water, and the Hoover Dam for electricity, continues to increase. To lower the minimum lake level necessary to generate electricity from 1,050 feet (320 m) to 950 feet (290 m), Hoover Dam was retrofitted with wide-head turbines, designed to work efficiently with less flow in 2015 and 2016.[40] If water levels continue to drop, Hoover Dam would cease generating electricity when the water level falls below 950 feet (290 m) and the lake would stabilize at a level of 895 feet (273 m) when the water reaches the lowest water outlet of the dam.[41] In order to ensure that the city of Las Vegas will continue to be able to draw its drinking water from Lake Mead, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on building a new water intake tunnel in the middle of the lake at the elevation of 860 feet (260 m).[42][43] The 3-mile (4.8 km) tunnel took seven years to build under the lake and was put into operation in late 2015.


Up stream releases 10,150,000 ML per year, Vegas recently upgraded the capacity to consume up to 1,244,000 ML per year.


As per usual the capacity of natural systems is much higher than the first order effects from people.

It's only when we look at second and third order effects or cumulative effects that we start to see real anthropocentric effects

More information on satellite calibration markers for those curious like me:


US version: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_Satellite_Calibration...

The US marker makes sense - it allows checking all alignment angles, focus, scale, and various spacial frequency response parameters to be measured. All in perhaps the simplest possible shape.

The Chinese one on the other hand, isn't so useful for any of that. All the lines are the same thickness, and there are no smaller features for fine calibration or measurements. For just calibration, it's far bigger and more complex than necessary.

Opencast coal mining in the eastern part of Germany: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=51.81287,14.47542...

The second link is the same as the first?

Good lord. The "Deforestation" presentation is horrifying.

What an effective use of technology, thank you EarthEngine team.

If you go to the Brazil deforestation time lapse and pan up to Northern British Columbia Canada you can observe a similar pattern.


Thanks to the EarthEngine team, but only that team. Youtube is an Alphabet (Google) company.

Youtube contributed to the rise of authoritarians like Trump and Bolsonaro who scoff at environmentalists.

Youtube merrily signal-boosted anti-environmentalist conspiracy theories.

What a fantastic world we could have, through new technology. What a mess we actually have, partly because of leadership failures at Google and the half-dozen usual suspects.

No, the problem is that we forgot to teach (or in many cases – deliberately did not teach) people one of the most basic skills (critical thinking) and now we're surprised that this has come back to bite us in the ass.

I've toyed with the idea of an anger management class in highschool. Almost all this BS passes by your bullshit detector by first angering you.

I think the problem, if we have to pick just one, really is the diet of crazy propaganda Youtube relentlessly pumped to the screens of two billion users for a half decade. Granted, the awesome scale is difficult to comprehend.

YouTube is crowdsourced. That content wouldn't exist if we actually taught people to think for themselves and not just lap up whatever is thrown at them.

    > YouTube is crowdsourced.
Youtube is one of the world's primary outlets to the consciousness of humanity. If you set out to influence public opinion, it's one of the very first services you want to exploit. Half its content is about as organic as a beaker of Teflon.

    > if we actually taught people to think for themselves
That seems unlikely to happen. Even if it did — if Youtube's viewership became much more canny — dis/misinformation would still be a huge problem.

For one thing, "reason" alone is not good enough: one also needs access to correct facts. The day isn't long enough to gather accurate information when the internet is drowning in garbage... and, as they say, GIGO. I personally wish I knew enough about medicine to reason about COVID19. I do not, and should I devote the time, it would be at the expense of some other area (GPT-3? The Roman Empire?)

For another, plenty of propaganda is soundly reasoned, in one context, and yet damaging to the public at large. Inter-group animosity, for example, can certainly provide sound reasons for one group in society to hate another. There is seldom a clearly "correct" answer to "with whom should I identify the most?"

For example, in the context of environmentalism, a group could justly argue "if you're over 50, environmentalist groups will harm your life, more than help." Whether that makes sense depends entirely on whether you choose to care about what happens to other people, after you die. That it is a sound argument, does not make it an argument that benefits humanity, as a whole.

Google hasn't been serious about its effects on the world. As enjoyable as Youtube can be, it has also done great harm.

I was raised and taught the same as my brothers.

They’re conspiracy theorists. I’m not.

I am not alone in this situation.

Are you saying there was no difference between you and your brothers until they started watching YouTube?

I find that hard to believe.

It's called "infrastructure" in Brazil. I read 30y deforestation effort. (I'm Brazilian, and quite ashamed right now)

Brazil is not alone in prioritizing industrialization over the environment. Coal in UK, oil in US, dams in China — just a few of many examples. That shame or sense of responsibility should be shared by many countries.

Context is everything. Not every country is at the same point on the industrial timeline. The UK, US, Europe are post-industrial, and have the luxury to focus on greener energy options. Other countries not so much (yet).

The only reason why those places mentioned can be said to be "post" industrial is because they moved most of the industry to other countries. You can't do that forever, you're bound to run out of countries at some point. Not all the countries can be "post-industrial", the metal has to be smelted somewhere

> the metal has to be smelted somewhere

Well, Mars. Obviously. /s

Since we have been living in a global economy for quite some time now, shouldn't we actually _pay_ Brazil to preserve its forest, a resource that the whole humanity/planet benefits from?

We're trying, but it's harder than it sounds: https://features.propublica.org/brazil-carbon-offsets/inconv...

Countries like mine benefiting from deforestation are just as culpable, we can't blame it all on Brazil.

Infrastructure and urbanisation are pretty much synonymous with killing off plant life and green zones, sadly. I don't think it's a necessary trade-off but it's the easiest route to take and, historically, humanity is a big proponent of the easiest routes.

It's a shame, and painful, to see humans behaving exactly the same as a virus killing it's host slowly...

It is very painful. We have this beautiful planet in the universe and we are just destroying it. We are just too primitive in too many ways. I am very concerned what will happen in the next 20-30 years. My only hope is that science can save us somehow.

> My only hope is that science can save us somehow.

It's not about us. It's about the planet. Climate change only threatens us as a species. Once we're gone, the planet will recover. It's recovered from eco-collapse before, and it will do it again.

Exactly, by saving us, science might do more harm than good. Finding a cure to covid-19 could also be seen as an human intervention into nature's attempt to regulate the human population growth. But in the the end there are only two possible outcomes: either humans will find a way to preserve an habitable environment or face extinction.

Honestly, COVID-19 isn’t the one that’s nature’s way of intervention when compared to other diseases. There’re 4 times more people dying of cancer and another 4 times as much of heart disease.

COVID-19 is just a way of the Big Pharma to fill their pockets and for politicians to make a power grab (never waste a good crisis)

Why will it again? I suspect survivorship bias here.

Describe in details, how do you kill the planet.

Spoiler: you cannot. If humans were to set their purpose to kill the planet, they would kill themselves at best, and I am not even so sure of that.

The sad thing is there are numerous ways to stop or minimize this at this very moment. The fault here is very very few people are taking it as seriously as it should be. I just hope that people will get some sense before destroying this planet.

Short of a full-scale global revolution that punishes the policymakers and corporate decision-makers who directly make the decision to deforest, mine, and brainwash the populace into compliance, I can't see a reversal from the inevitable cliff. We can barely get people to agree on basic mask wearing during a pandemic.

This comment seems a bit US biased. Other democratic countries, with semi-good political leadership, more educated population and social pressure regulated the spread of the virus quite well so far. I was actually quite impressed how from one day to another people started following those new rules meticulously.

You greatly overestimate how many countries check all these boxes, or the relevance they have compared to the biggest actors.

Yeah I agree that the chances of that are slim at the very best, especially after this covid situation. It really showed how straight up stupid and retarded people can be.

Imagine if cyanobacteria were as conscious about the change they were about to introduce…

I live in Mönchengladbach and the first thing I thought of, was looking at the Garzweiler mine.

It is worth to take a closer look. Here you can see how the Highway (Autobahn A44) is spared at the beginning until it is destroyed around 2006. It was reconstructed and reopened in 2018. It is frightening to see how the villages get eaten by the mine. At the same time you can also see the construction of the relocated villages Otzenrath, Holz and Spenrath north of the mine.


Crawling mine.

Well this is the most depressing thing I have seen recently. Was interesting to see the South Australian bushfires one where you can see the land slowly recover after each fire.

Mines around Muswellbrook, 200km north of Sydney, NSW, AU.

Our commitment to pulling stuff out of the ground and burning it, in the face of all the science, is impressive.


I would not argue against that fact. I also expect we'd be chimps staring at a black monolith had we not utilized the resources that abound on this planet.


Had we not started cooking our food over open fires, incurring significant damage to our health in the process, our societal and technological progress would also have been retarded.

However, that's not a sufficient or satisfactory answer to the question 'Should we still be doing this?'

USGS has a vast database of images including aerial, weather satellites, declassified reconnaissance satellites, and other sources.


The datasets you pick from can be a bit confusing unless you click the (!) icon next to the names to figure out what they are.

I'll provide an example for looking at reconnaissance satellite images of Atlanta, Georgia in 1979.

Search Criteria (tab):

Find Atlanta, Georgia on map. Zoom in on Atlanta, Georgia. Click on a building like the "Fulton County Courthouse" or "Atlanta City Hall" (does not really matter, but somewhere near them).

Date Range: 01/01/1970 - 01/01/1980

Data Sets (tab):

Declassified Data -> [check] Declass 3 (2013)

Click "Results".

Click one of the results.

Example image: May 15, 1979 - https://i.imgur.com/DXYxWXP.jpg - 14,273 x 1,414 px

I lived through the madness of Atlanta in the 1970s. The pace of sub urban development seemed to rival 21st century China in its consumption of concrete and steel.

I like what they are doing but do we need a default .5 second for every year while the content is still loading? And seemingly no way to significantly slow it down?

Works fine while you are sitting inside the google datacenter

I laughed very hard at this comment

it will loop around and start again.

We need every child to watch and learn about this as they grow up. They will be fighting climate change for the rest of their life.

Its like watching a very slow car crash you can't stop

It's like watching people who dont care destroy what's left of the unknown on our planet for selfish ends. There is knowledge that humans will never access because of need and greed.

Close to home for me, the removal of mountaintops to get at coal seams in Pike county kentucky:


The mines are abandoned now

Edit: updated link - zoom out, a lot of kentucky is affected by this.

That's not Kentucky you linked to, that's west of Cologne (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinisches_Braunkohlerevier)

oops, I'll edit my link

Unfortunately, this is going to be the situation with Himalayan glaciers after new EIA bill India is planning to pass.


To be honest, I was underwhelmed by most of the change. The greatest marvel was urbanization in China. Simply amazing.

It is interesting how they expand land, even make "islands" out in the seas(?)

It's pretty impressive to see the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement [0] construction beginning around 2010 and its final movement over reactor 4 being completed between 2016 and 2017.

Link: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse#v=51.38202,30.09999...

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_New_Safe_Confinement

The port of Rotterdam: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/#v=51.9137,4.1106,1...

It was already impressive in 1984. Also interesting is the slow migration of sand banks on the Haringvilet estuary.

There's also https://earthtime.org/ which shows the same satellite imagery PLUS all kinds of additional data layers (disclaimer: I work in the lab that created it)

While not as devastating as some shown here, 44.3171003, -91.2593236 will show you one frac sand mine in Wisconsin where they’ve leveled an entire hill and shipped it out west. They even built a plant and several new railroad tracks for it.

I wonder if they can find any timelapses of nature being restored instead of destroyed.

A street view timelapse would be cool to see. Many places would have 10+ years by now.

Now I have the intro music of the Expanse in my head.

Check out your local library, or geological survey's website to see if they have historical arial photographs going back even further.

Coal Mining in Germany: 50.9121787,6.5066858


This is total junk on a 10Mb connection.

Wow what an amazing use of technology. Painful to see so many examples of deforestation.

Check out Dubai go from sand to city, plus all the man made islands pop up.

Berlin airport, haha

wow amazed pictures all the way back to 1980's hmm

Thanks for that was trying to look around, as early as late 70's I see.

The player starts with how a glacier in Alaska, and it would be nice if they linked to content to explain what and why the glaciers are retreating


That link explains why the glaciers retreated approx 10kya. It doesn't explain glacial retreat over the past half century. If anything the chart seems to show that past trends would have us on the cusp of exiting the current interglacial period, i.e. we should be seeing glacial advances.

Typical cherry picking of data to focus only of the areas which show negative trends, while reforestation is a thing across the world as the NASA has previously demonstrated: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/144540/china-and-in...

The thing is, "increasing leaf area" is actually not the aim here. I'm from India and while the deforestation situation is not as bad as (say Brazil for Amazon Rain forest), it is still present in almost every country in the World. Agriculture does NOT mean "restoration". On top of that we should try to increase the restoration of native species of each country or every part of the world and not push non-native species just because they grow fast or take less attention while growing them. That destroys the ecosystem of that area because of something called as Invading Species. I'm not saying that every action taken is wrong or anything, but in this case deforestation outweighs reforestation by a huge margin.

> in this case deforestation outweighs reforestation by a huge margin.

This is not remotely what is suggested by numerous studies. You can see in Africa for example deforestation and regrowth (in other areas) as whole make a balanced picture of tree biomass: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05386-z

Of course there are countries like Brazil where deforestation is happening at a faster pace (mainly driven by poverty and poor agricultural efficiency in the Amazon), but that does not mean the whole world is following the same trend. That's alarmism.

How many truly non-invading species there are if you wind back far enough?

Given enough time ecosystems can adapt to new invaders.

The problem is that we’ve dramatically accelerated the movement of flora and fauna around the world, and ecosystems can’t keep up with those changes (among many others we’ve caused).

> ecosystems can’t keep up with those changes (among many others we’ve caused).

You will need to have some sources to back that claim.

Yeah your right no need to highlight deforestation anymore as some countries are planting trees now.

> Yeah your right no need to highlight deforestation anymore as some countries are planting trees now.

Is that what I said? My point is that if you only show the areas where deforestation happens you are missing the picture where trees are growing. That's called negative bias.

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