This New App Shows the Planet In Near Real Time

The Earth is dynamic and changing, maps should be too!

Jun 29, 2022
This New App Shows the Planet In Near Real Time | The Earth is dynamic and changing, maps should be too!

The planet changes quickly and these shifts can impact the way people live, plant, and travel. Knowing about climate change, droughts, and even weather conditions can help people plan for the future.

In the past, changes were difficult to track  and even with the advent of satellite photos there was no way to view and evaluate data in real time, until now.  A new app called Dynamic World was designed to do just that.

A new tool
Dynamic World, a collaboration from Google Earth Engine and the nonprofit World Resources Institute, zooms in on the planet in 10-by-10 meter squares from satellite images, according to Fast Company. The images take two to five days to collect and then are classified by AI into nine categories that include trees, crops, buildings and bare ground.

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This allows researchers to: “explore and track and monitor changes in these terrestrial ecosystems over time,” Tanya Birch, senior program manager for Google Earth Outreach told Fast Company. Before that, scientists had to rely on data that was sometimes released every five years.

“That’s clearly not good enough anymore,” Fred Stolle, deputy director of the World Resources Institute’s Forests Program said. “We’re changing so fast, and the impact is so fast, that satellites are now the way to go,”

How it works
The app allows researchers to build their own maps based on the collected data according to a Google blog. Local information can be combined to analyze crop data between specific dates, to zoom in on flooding during the rainy season, or to track the destruction of a forest fire.

The data, which goes back five years, can help governments, the private sector, and NGOs to better plan, manage, and protect the planet. City planners can use the data to monitor green spaces, the oceans, and the effects of drought conditions on agriculture can be studied in real time.

 “The global land squeeze pressures us to find smarter, efficient, and more sustainable ways to use land,” Craig Hanson, vice president of food, forests, water and the ocean at the World Resources Institute told Google. “If the world is to produce what is needed from land, protect the nature that remains and restore some of what has been lost, we need trusted, near real-time monitoring of every hectare of the planet.”

By providing real time maps Dynamic Earth is helping to find the solutions that people will need to save the planet, 10 by 10 meters at a time.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.