Wondering what to do with 25 years worth of environmental satellite data? Leave it to Google. With their new Google Earth Engine, they can track environmental changes made to the planet as easy as 1-2-3. Their data is based on NASA's LANDSAT technology and is used to monitor such things as deforestation and land use. A timely event for the talks in Cancun. See an excerpt below from Yale 360 and a link to the Environmental News Network with a more extensive look at the topic.
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 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.
Click here for a link to ENN.com.
Image courtesy of NASA.gov.