Anyone who has seen the Google Timelapse video won’t deny that it’s amazing. Time lapse videos capture footage over an extended period of time and presents it to viewers as short films. These time lapse presentations aren’t just a quick way to give us information, however. Time lapse videos pair visuals with information that awakens our emotional response by showing us the process of change in a dynamic way.
Numerous award-winning films use time lapse footage to tell stories. Documentary filmmakers and famous cinematographers incorporate time lapse into their messaging to show transitions in time during movies and highlight even the most subtle of changes that occur naturally over the years.
There are many areas beyond entertainment and nature where time lapse serves an important purpose. For example, event managers can use time lapse to create marketing materials and highlight reels that will attract more business and publicity. The creative options for event marketing are plentiful. Promoters can quickly show footage of an engaged audience, energetic speakers, and the transformation of the event space by using décor and smart technology.
Time lapse footage can also be used for scientific purposes as educators teach students about organisms and their life cycles. Time lapse video can serve as the basis of presentations to show the decomposition of species without waiting to witness it naturally.
Google Timelapse Brings Attention to Environmental Issues
Google Timelapse does more than showcase the capabilities of modern technology. The project shows the impact human behavior is having on the Earth. Instead of zoning in on a few cities in a designated region, the images give a worldwide perspective. Because the images have been captured from space, the content is factual instead of relying on theories that are open to debate. The satellite view of each continent can motivate individuals on all sides of the globe to begin important conversations on the actions we can all take to conserve our land and water resources.
Oftentimes, we turn on the news and only take notice of what affects us locally. As we watch the Google Timelapse video, we can see the combined impact that various activities are having on the world. For example, the way we use fossil fuels contributes to air pollution and health problems occur as we breathe in the same air. Furthermore, major construction projects meant to source energy can negatively affect local communities, forcing people in small towns out of their homes and displacing them. There is also deforestation, which destroys trees and natural habitats. Deforestation speeds up global warming while threatening our food supply on a local and global scale. Google Timelapse captures all of it, bringing huge time periods into very short segments to offer perspective.
One of the most debated talking points when discussing environmental changes is its relationship to human impact. Because the USGS (US Geological Survey) is respected for their expertise and investigations in the world of science, geography, and education, their contributions are credible and well-researched. Considering that this video was created over a span of 32 years, we can see that environmental degradation doesn’t take long to occur.
Taking A Closer Look at Satellite Technology
So, how did Google gather such in-depth content on a global scale? A satellite was in motion from 1984 until 2016, capturing footage each year on clear days to prevent the clouds from obstructing the views of Earth.
Landsat is an observation program by the USGS and NASA that uses space technology to collect data about the Earth. Because it’s the longest-running observational space project in the world, the Landsat program is a valuable resource that everyone can relate to, regardless of their occupation and personal views. Educators, those working in the agricultural industry, and disaster relief programs can benefit from the available information in the time lapse by using it to make further predictions and determine the best courses of action.
The history of Landsat is impressive, to say the least. The project began in September 1966 with a mission of launching a civilian satellite that would observe our planet. In July of 1972, the first satellite was officially launched and was called the Landsat 1. This effort to launch the satellite and keep it in constant orbit around the Earth has continued for decades and is still moving forward. So far, eight Landsat satellites have launched, and Landsat 9 is expected to launch in 2020.
The Landsat 5 mission launched in 1985 has been the most successful thus far by continuously capturing data for 28 years and 10 months. Landsat 5 is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest operating space observation satellite.
Carnegie Mellon University was one of the collaborators during this project. The university used their “Create Lab” to allow viewers to zoom in on the Earth from various angles. The compilation of the Google Timelapse video was made with the use of over 5 million satellite images. As part of the Landsat project, the images came from 5 separate satellites.
Google Timelapse Is A Call to Action
We all care about the Earth we share for future generations, pets and wildlife, and improved health. But an unstable environment is a threat to human and animal health, job growth, and economic stability. Google’s Time Lapse video is using the power of technology to inspire people to take action to protect our planet and be more conscious of the decisions we make that may be contributing to environmental instability. The time lapse video is perfect for today’s internet users because the content can be shared easily and saved for future reference.
There are many people who want to make the necessary changes to create a better world, beginning in their own cities. Clean energy supporters and environmental experts have long been aware of environmental issues, and they are continuously searching for ways to inform the public. Fortunately, Google Timelapse is a visual tool that can educate the masses and while it is awesome for numerous reasons, the main reason is that it reminds us of the importance of our planet and our actions upon it.