A new online tool allows people to access many of the images taken by NASA satellites over the last 13 years and to look at time-lapse videos of changes on the Earth's surface, such as deforestation and urban sprawl.
This new capability within the Google Earth Engine enhances the public's ability to view the massive amount of imagery collected by NASA's Landsat program between 1999 and 2011. Users can zoom in or out on any spot on the globe and move back and forth in time.
The new tool was created by Carnegie Mellon University, Google and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
For the past 40 years, the Landsat program has continuously collected imagery of the Earth's surface and, since 2008, the USGS has made that imagery available free to the public. But accessing that data — measured in petabytes (there are 1 million gigabytes in a petabyte) — has long been cumbersome, according to a release from Carnegie Mellon University.