Lifestyle Tech

Google launches Timelapse in Google Earth

For the past 15 years, billions of people have turned to Google Earth for inspiring views of our planet from endless vantage points. You might have peeked at Mount Everest or flown through your hometown. Since launching Google Earth, the company has focused on creating a 3D replica of the world that reflects our planet as the living, breathing organism it is.

In the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, you can now see our planet in an entirely new dimension — time. With Timelapse in Google Earth, 20 million satellite photos from the past 37 years have been embedded into Google Earth, creating an explorable view of time on our planet. Now anyone can watch time unfold across the globe and witness nearly four decades of planetary change.

To explore Timelapse in Google Earth, go to g.co/Timelapse — you can use the handy search bar to choose any place on the planet where you want to see time in motion. Or open Google Earth and click on the ship’s wheel to find Timelapse in our storytelling platform, Voyager. There you’ll find our interactive guided tours of the new imagery and featured locations you might be interested in visiting. We’ve also uploaded more than 800 Timelapse videos in both 2D and 3D for public use at g.co/TimelapseVideos. You can select any video you want as a ready-to-use MP4 video or sit back and watch the videos on YouTube – where you’ll be able to see Kuala Lumpur, Segamat and Johor Bahru captured in this collection. 

Observe how the rich alluvial plains stemming from the Baram River have helped shape agriculture around the surrounding area

The small fishing village of Sekinchan, also a major rice-producing area in Selangor, has changed throughout the passage of time. 

Urban expansion around Seberang Perai and Bayan Lepas where the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (also known as the Penang Second Bridge) can be seen making its way through Timelapse. 

Marvel at how Port Klang (left) and Sepang (right) have developed over the years.

Appreciate how Orang Asal communities from various zones throughout Malaysia, such as the Jakuns of Kampung Peta have lived harmoniously with the environment in their customary land for ages. 

Understand the causes of Earth’s change 

Google has worked with the experts at Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab to build the technology that makes Timelapse possible, and the internet search giants worked with them again to make sense of what the company were seeing.  Five themes emerged as Google set about looking at what’s happening on Planet Earth — forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, sources of energy, and our world’s fragile beauty. For each topic, Google Earth takes you on a guided tour so you can better understand the planet’s changes and how people experience them. 

What can you do with Timelapse?

For years, people have been making digital discoveries in Google Earth. From uncovering an unknown rainforest on top of a mountain, to an ancient settlement in Ireland, satellite imagery in Google Earth has sparked new discoveries and even a few scientific breakthroughs. And we think people will discover things unseen before with Timelapse in Google Earth. 

Key in your desired location and navigate your preferred view in 2D or 3D. The timelapse pane moves in tandem with the changes observed in the map. 

You’re invited to take Timelapse into your own hands and share it with others — whether you’re marvelling at the changing shapes of coastlines, following the growth of megacities, or tracking the reach of deforestation. Timelapse in Google Earth is the visual evidence of drastic, dynamic change on our planet from climate change and human behavior, and Google’s hope is that it will be used to educate and inspire. 

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