Google Earth wasn't around until about 2005, but with the power of archival satellite footage, Google has whipped up the most comprehensive time lapse known to man, covering the past 20 years of Earth. The ultimate, beautiful conclusion of this little project? Dope GIFs.
A joint effort between Google, the US Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and TIME, the new Timelapse project was born out of a collection of 2,068,467 images — 909 terabytes of data — that span the entire world and date back to 1984. Google took the cream of that crop, and stitched them together into enormous, yearly, 1.78-terapixel images to make a truly global time lapse.
You can explore a completely navigable, time-lapsing globe over on Google's website for the project, but Google's picked out a few for GIF-ification, about half of which show urban expansion, while the other half show the environmental cost. It's got to be the most massive — and impressive — time lapse in human history. Too bad so much of it is a bummer. [The Official Google Blog via The Verge]