Ever since Frank put together the “Blue Marble” overlay, it’s been one of my favorite overlays for Google Earth. I leave it on almost all the time, because it creates such a nice view of the earth when seen from very high altitudes.
Of course, the Blue Marble only shows how the Earth looks right now. What if you could see the past (and future) of our planet with a similar overlay? That’s what the folks at ZHAW have put together, and it’s quite impressive. They’ve created a few animations that show changes in the Earth’s glaciers, vegetation and sea levels throughout the years. Here’s a look at their “Blue Marble 3000” animation, which begins 21,000 years ago, and ends in the year 3000.
They also have a version of it that starts with present-day Earth and goes until the year 10,000:
In addition to the views, they’ve created overlays that you can use inside of Google Earth. You can find more info about Blue Marble 3000 here, and Blue Marble 10,000 here.
They collected the data from a variety of sources, and certainly had to make some estimations for future ice and shorelines. Still, it’s an interesting look at where we’ve been and where we might be heading.