The Landsat satellite program has just celebrated its 40th year in existence, during which they’ve collected petabytes worth of information. This collection of information enables them to have a unique perspective on economic and environmental changes across the globe.
Google, with the help of Landsat, the USGS and Carnegie Mellon University, has put together a handful of time-lapse videos to show remarkable changes to the earth between 1999-2011. This is somewhat similar to the excellent Blue Marble time animations from 2006 for Google Earth. The advantage to this older time animation is that it is viewable from all sides of the globe in 3D, but the data is not very high resolution so you can’t zoom in, and there are only frames for each month of one year. The new Blue Marble data set (NOTE: only works with Chrome 7.0+ and Safari 5.0+) is amazing. It covers the 12 year period with many more points of data, and you can zoom in to see the video at higher resolutions. The only limitation is that it isn’t in 3D so you can’t see a globe view.
Another great example is the explosive growth of Las Vegas in those dozen years, as shown here:
Other examples include Amazon rainforest deforestation and seasonal snow-cover changes.
The video shows how they were able to work with this vast amount of data to put together some of these items:
For more, check out the full post over at the Google Lat Long Blog.