Google Earth recently added a fourth dimension to its 3D mapping tool – a time-lapse of millions of photos stitched together that show us how the world changed in the past 37 years. Let’s dive deeper into this.
Crux of the Matter
Earth As We Know It, From 1984-2021
Google has crunched 24 million satellite images from the past 37 years to form the 4D video. It tells us how human habits have affected the earth and its climate.
So Is It Really Interactive?
Yes, You can zoom in and out, change angles to get a better view of the changing forests and urban expansion. The satellite imagery is rquivalent to 530,000 videos in 4K resolution. Google also added that the computing was done inside its “carbon-neutral, 100% renewable energy-matched data centers.
As far as we know, Timelapse in Google Earth is the largest video on the planet, of our planet.Says Google
Who Made Google Earth?
The tech was originally developed by Intrinsic Graphics that built visual databases. In 2004, Google purchased Keyhole Inc., which became Niantic, the Google subsidiary that made for “Pokemon Go.”
2D To 3D Via Minimaps
Mipmaps are collections of bitmap images that create the illusion of depth. They work in an inverted pyramid structure, stacked on each other with each level having twice the resolution of the one under it.
Google Earth is used by explorers for a virtual travel experience. While Google Maps helps in point to point navigation for real life commuting.
How Does Maps Make Money?
Google Maps Platform earns from selling Google Maps API to companies that require navigation. Eg: To Uber for drivers and customers to track each other’s movements.
- John Hanke is the founder and current CEO of Niantic, Inc. Hanke previously led Google’s Geo Product division, which includes Google Earth, Google Maps, StreetView, SketchUp, and Panoramio.
- Google Earth has been viewed by some as a threat to privacy and national security, leading to the program being banned in multiple countries. Some countries have requested that certain areas be obscured in Google’s satellite images, usually areas containing military facilities.
- Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam expressed concern over the availability of high-resolution pictures of sensitive locations in India. Google subsequently agreed to censor such sites.