New Historical Imagery Added

One of the really neat features introduced in Google Earth 5 is the historical imagery slider. Using this tool, you can view old imagery and compare it to more recent imagery for a particular location.
Over the past year, we’ve seen some neat examples of that. Below is a video that Frank made back in February that shows how the feature works and gives a quick tour of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium from the 2008 Olympics.

In March, Google added a lot more imagery to this section, which offered some neat perspective on things like Amazon deforestation. It’s also allowed us to revisit neat old discoveries that were lost after subsequent imagery updates, such as this KC-135 refueling in mid-air, or over 1700 items on Google Earth Hacks that are “outdated” but can still be seen using this tool.
Today, Google has added more historical imagery including some for Berlin, Germany beween 1945 and 1953. It’s neat to be able to go back and see how a city has changed over the years, especially when you can span more than half a century between two images.
Berlin from 1953 to 2009

Check it out, and be sure to let us know if you find any other interesting historical imagery out there.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. The history layer also allows you to see better quality imagery which has been replaced by lesser quality updates in some places, but not in others such as London where some really good high res imagery vanished when replaced by the current deeply shadowed ones.
    Is there anywhere with a list of the places like Berlin where the layer covers a long time span, and/or can GED readers name some others?

  2. Significant parts of Europe could (and probably should) receive similar History Layer treatment as Berlin. There are significantly large archives at least in Britain and in the USA with WW2 aerial reconnaissance hires imagery of Germany and german-occupied territories (same with Japan, one would think), showing plenty of cities prior to their destruction. This imagery is by and large declassified, it’s just a pain in the rear for a private citizen to go through the bureaucratic process to retrieve whatever you’re interested in. What’s more, lots of the imagery of early US reconnaissance satellite programs has been declassified in recent years, along with their respective satellite technology. Lots of material there that could be put into Google Earth to illustrate changes on Earth spanning over decades.

  3. The historic German imagery is great (surprisingly good resolution, too), but unfortunately there’s nothing between 1953 and 2000, which misses the entirety of the wall.

  4. I just checked the links that you provided. I must say they were awesome. I just loved images from Germany. Looking forward for more such posts. Keep the good work.

  5. The historical images from 1945 were taken froam a plane or are sattelite images?

  6. @spiderpc:
    satellites in 1945??? LOL… ever heard of Sputnik? that was oct. 1957…! and it took few years to get cameras up and running on satellites…!
    and all high-rez footage is aerial footage… only the latest spy satellites are capable of comparable image qaulity, but NOT avail. to the public!

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