Timelapse : 32 Years of the Changing Planet #Google Earth

Until the launch of earth-orbiting satellites, we were not able to view our planet from above. Since the early 1970’s, however, we have been collecting imagery of the entire world–and, as satellite and sensor technology advances, we can capture much greater detail to learn how our world is changing.

Given the vast amount of digital imagery we have accumulated over the past 40+ years, Google wanted to make the imagery more useful. Rather than looking at each tile–a small area of the Earth’s surface–Google and Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab’s created Timelapse, a global, zoomable video that lets you see how the Earth has changed over the past 32 years. It is made from 33 cloud-free annual mosaics, one for each year from 1984 to 2016, which are made interactively explorable to create and view zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time.

Instructional Goals:

  • Students will explore how to use the Timelapse website to view areas of interest around the world
  • Students will use the TimeMachine web application to research a specified area and learn how it has been affected in the past 20 years
  • Students will use the Timelapse editor web application to explore an area of interest and create their own Timelapse tours to share with the class

Learning Objectives:

  • Use vocabulary associated with remotely sensed imagery
  • Describe some of the ways people have impacted the earth
  • Create a project highlighting an area around the world impacted by people

Two to three 45-minute class periods.


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  • ClassroomActivity_Timelapse_-GoogleEarth.pdf

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Created: Mar 25, 2019


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Creative Commons "Attribution