Monday, March 11, 2024

Virtual Rewind Machines

animated satellite imagery showing some urban development in the Summerline West neighborhood of Las Vegas since 2014.
urban development of the Summerline West neighborhood in Las Vegas since 2014

Esri's World Imagery Wayback is a virtual rewind machine which allows you to create animated GIFs of locations showing how they have changed over time.  The World Imagery Wayback interactive map provides access to satellite imagery captured over a period of years, currently stretching back to February 20, 2014.

Using the map you can center on any location in the world. You then need to simply press the play button to automatically create an animated timelapse GIF from a series of satellite images captured over the years since 2014. If you then select the download button you can save your animated timelapse creations.

a satellite timelapse of canal side development in East London
East London canal-side warehouses replaced by expensive flats

Google's Earth Timelapse site is another fantastic tool for visualizing changes to our planet over time. Earth Timelapse gives you access to a global interactive map featuring historical satellite imagery from the past 37 years. 

Earth Timelapse includes an 'embed current view' (under the share button) which allows you to embed the map into your own website or blog. However if you want to capture a timelapse GIF from Earth Timelapse you will have to use your own screen-recording utilities.
mining development in Alberta, Canada
mining development in Alberta, Canada

The Landsat program has been capturing satellite imagery of the Earth since the early 1970's. This means they now have access to over 40 years of satellite imagery, which is a wonderful resource for documenting changes to our planet.

Landsat Lens allows you to explore how the Earth has changed by comparing Landsat satellite imagery from six different years. The map allows you to search for any location on Earth and then overlay satellite imagery of your selected location from 1975, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2015.

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