Google Earth Blog

Global surface water and historical changes map

The science journal Nature recently published an article about mapping long term global surface water using the archive of Landsat and Sentinel imagery using Google Earth Engine. You can read more about it here. This is the same data that was used to create the global historical mosaics that Google recently added to Google Earth but processed to show areas with surface water.

The data has been made freely available via the Global Surface Water Explorer. Sadly, we could not find a way to view the data in Google Earth. There is, however, mention in the ‘download’ options that the data will be made available via ‘web mapping services’, at which point we could make it available for Google Earth in a similar way to what we did with the Mapzen Altitude Tileset

There are a number of options well worth exploring, such as seasonal changes, changes over the last 32 years, various combinations of those and more.

The Brahmaputra River, Bangladesh, which we recently noted changes quite dramatically over time.

The slow death of Great Salt Lake, Utah, looks like a murder scene or an abstract painting.

Toshka Lakes near the Aswan Dam in Egypt is a totally new water body.

Also note that one of the ‘background map’ options is to turn on ‘Earth time-lapse’ animation.

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.

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