What do you get when Google, the University of Maryland, and NASA's Landsat 7 satellite team up? A very sobering view of man's impact on the earth. It only took us 12 years to destroy all that forest.
If the findings are disheartening, the method involved is at least fascinating. Using data from the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor aboard NASA's Landsat 7, the Google Earth Engine processed over 650,000 images on 10,000 computers operating in parallel. That much processing would have taken a single computer 15 years — during which time, no doubt, we'd find a way to blow through even more forest. Check out the whole environmental study on Google Maps, or head over to Google's Research Blog for the story behind the tech that made this possible The GIF, I mean. Not the deforestation. [Google Research Blog]