03 Dec 2010:
New Google Earth Technology
Allows Tracking of Environmental Changes
Google has unveiled an online technology that allows scientists and researchers to track and measure changes to the environment
using 25 years worth of satellite data. Google Earth Engine
, introduced during climate talks in Cancun, utilizes “trillions of scientific measurements” collected by NASA’s
Tree cover in Mexico
LANDSAT satellite, the company said. Google is already working on applications for tracking deforestation and mapping land use trends, including the creation of the most comprehensive scale map of Mexico’s forest and water resources ever made. That project alone would have taken three years to process using a single computer, Google officials say, but took just one day using Google Earth Engine. “No one has ever been able to analyze that entire data set for Mexico, or even come close,” said Rebecca Moore, the project’s engineering manager. Google says it will offer 20 million CPU hours free to developing nations and scientific organizations to utilize the platform, which could emerge as a critical tool in the enforcement of such land management initiatives as the UN’s REDD program in which wealthier nations pay developing nations to preserve rainforests.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.