Today, the Landsat program is celebrating 40 years of continuous earth observation. In case you don’t know what Landsat is, it’s actually a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. First launched on July 23, 1972, Landsat is now the longest running program for the acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. Google has partnered with the USGS and Carnegie Mellon University to bring tidbits of images from its vast collection of imagery. The result is the video above.
Highlights of the video include the deforestation of the Amazon forest between 1999 to 2011, as well as the huge growth of Las Vegas between 1999 to 2011. “We believe these may be the largest video frames ever created. If you could see the entire video at full resolution, a single frame would be 1.78 terapixels which is 18 football fields’ worth of computer screens laid side-by-side,” Google said. “Google Earth Engine makes it possible for this data to be accessed and used by scientists and others no matter where they are in the world. Watch the video below to learn more about the history of the Landsat program and how Google Earth Engine was used to process and analyze this enormous archive of planetary imagery.”