Thursday, 08 December 2016 15:12

Google Timelapse videos now let you see entire cities grow over 30 years


You turn your back for just a minute and — subdivisions.

Well, maybe not a minute in real life. But in the Google-verse, yes.

The search-engine giant has a nifty new diversion that allows anyone to see a 30-year sequence of satellite photos of virtually anywhere on Earth. And there’s no better place to start than Ottawa. 

Controls allow you to watch a high-speed time lapse — 30 years in a 10-second sweep — or slow it down, or even go frame-by-frame, year-by-year, from 1986 to 2016.

In the lower left, you can watch Barrhaven as it begins to swell in the mid-80s, then explodes through the 1990s and into the 21st century.

Likewise, Kanata, Orléans, and outlying communities such as Manotick — are transformed from smallish bedroom communities to the grand fiefdoms of suburban life and commerce they are today. 


But such transformation is hardly unique to Ottawa. Simply opening the links on the navigation mosaic takes you to some of the most profound environmental and urban transformations, from disappearing inland seas to melting glaciers to the oilsands of Alberta to massive dams. 

The tool also reveals how robust technology has become.

The data — more than 5.4 million images since 1984 — have been collected mostly by a four Landsat satellites that have been scanning our shiny blue marble since 1972. Earlier images lack the crisp definition of those more recent.

The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Program and its Sentinel-2A satellite have been adding to the image bank for the past two years.

Author:  Ottawa Citizen


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