Google has made a 3d version of the existing Timelapse function available. The feature uses 24 million satellite images to generate the 3D rendering. Users can choose locations themselves, or view places selected by Google.
For the 3d-Timelapse feature , Google turned those millions of satellite images, which accounted for 20 petabytes of images in total, into one video. For this, Google used ‘thousands’ of computers that together needed more than two hundred million hours to compile the video. That video mosaic is 4.4 terapixel in size, Google writes. For the Timelapse feature , Google has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s Create Lab.
The result is that users can go to any place on Earth and see in 3D how the environment has changed in recent decades. Google has also collected several notable locations and timelapses in stories and themes. These themes revolve around, for example, climate change, the human impact on nature, nature in general or growing cities.
These locations can be viewed as a ‘story’, where users pass through various pre-selected locations and are informed by text of what they see. In addition, there are Featured Locations, individual locations that could be of interest to a user for a specific reason.
The satellite images come from various organizations. For Timelapse, Google uses, for example, NASA’s Landsat satellites, or the Sentinel satellites of the EU program Copernicus. Google promises to update Timelapse annually with new images for the next ten years. Timelapse has been available in 2D for years.