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    December 1, 2016

    Google Earth Timelapse reveals how South Africa changed from 1984 to 2016

    google earth timelapse

    Google has unveiled Earth Timelapse; the ‘most detailed view of Earth across space and time’ which shows how South Africa changed between 1984-2016.

    If you, like many of us, commute to your destination or work, you might often consider how the landscape around you changes. While a new building – or the removal of one – might punctuate a landscape, we’re often lost South Africato the bigger picture. With Google’s new Earth Timelapse tool, however, we can now not only see how the world changed between 1984 to 2016, but how South Africa changed in particular.

    The same time period has not only ushered in a change in our nation’s political landscape, but a visible impact on urban sprawl throughout our country. Much of that is visible in Google’s newest tool, which allows users to see a year-by-year view of South Africa’s changing geography.

    Read: 16-year old South African Kiara Nirghin wins Google‘s R680,000 Science Fair prize

    While Earth Timelapse has been around for some time, Google announced that “our additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016″ have now been added to the view, enriching what one can glean from viewing South Africa’s geographical change across decades.

    Google clarified that the system, which uses the Google Earth engine, “…is made from 33 cloud-free annual mosaics, one for each year from 1984 to 2016, which are made interactively explorable by Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab‘s Time Machine library.” 

    The resulting map is actually a composite – Google revealed that by using the Earth Engine, its teams were able “to combine over 5 million satellite images acquired over the past three decades by five different satellites.“

    Read: The Giant Flag Project is constructing a South Africa flag which can be seen from space

    You can view Google Earth Timelapse from the embedded map below – simply move through the map with a cursor, zoom in and out, and choose the transition speed you prefer. We advise that the map is best viewed on a desktop computer.

    What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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