Google’s Timelapse Mapping Project

This is one of those many projects that both excites and scares me. It excites me because I love mapping and I love to see how the world changes around me. One of my favorite projects to work on was the Ohio floodplain zones project. Many of the hard copy maps were created back in the 40’s, but we had to rectify them with aerial photography taken over 50 years later. It was amazing how drastic the courses of the steams and rivers had changed within that time.

On the scary side, when you go to Google’s Earthengine Timelapse page you can see how most of their examples show the damage that we are doing to the earth as humans. I think the most disturbing ones are the Amazon rain forest deforestation and the drying of the Aral Sea.

Take a look at the example below of Las Vegas in 1984 and in 2012:

Las Vegas 1984 - Google's Timelapse Mapping Project

Las Vegas 1984

Las Vegas 2012 - Google's Timelapse Mapping Project

Las Vegas 2012









Notice how much more land has been developed and how much the reservoir to the right has shrunk in inverse proportion to the growth.

However, I do feel hopeful that when people truly look at these amazing depictions of how we are changing the world around us that we will want to do things better and smarter. Progress is good but there are both positive and destructive ways to approach anything and with knowledge we move is a more positive direction.