Fifth Anniversary of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Google has been using Street View and aerial imagery to record both the devastation caused and the subsequent rebuilding process. They have recently released a new batch of Street View imagery for some of the worst affected areas, allowing you to see the changes over the last five years. Read more about it on the LatLong blog. You can also explore the imagery at the “Great East Japan Earthquake Digital Archive Project”.

Google has also been gathering aerial imagery of Japan, including the affected areas. They have recently released some imagery dated February 2016. It is not yet in ‘historical imagery’ but can be found in the default layer. It is unusual for aerial imagery in that it shows quite a lot of snow cover. The LatLong blog shows an animation of one location showing the situation before the Tsunami, the devastation caused and the recovery and rebuilding process to date. Below we show similar images for another location. You could do the same for almost any location along the North East coast of Japan.


August 2010, before the Tsunami.


March 2011, showing the devastation after the Tsunami.


February 2016, showing rebuilding taking place. However, they are avoiding building houses within the danger zone.

We have marked out the areas covered by the new 2016 aerial imagery, which you can view in Google Earth with this KML file.

Google did some similar imagery comparisons one year after the disaster, which we covered here.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.