The Google tool displays changes on the ground in near real time | Knowledge and the environment | DW

Ukrainian forces are still trying with all their might to seize the strategically important city of Sevgerodonetsk and push Russian forces from elsewhere.

“The fight is taking place literally for every meter,” says Ukrainian President Zelensky, in Sevgirodontsk. The extent to which the bitter fighting has changed the industrial zone of Donbass can now be seen in almost real time using the “Dynamic World” web application. Google now makes this tool available for free in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Make changes easy to see

The data set that is open and freely available is available to everyone and, according to Dynamic World, should be used by scientists, governments, and companies alike.

“This level of detail allows scientists and policymakers to see and quantify the scale of recent events — such as snow storms, wildfires, or volcanic eruptions — anywhere in the world in a matter of days,” Dynamic World says.

Classified different types of soil

The earlier and later images are particularly vivid and quickly show the full range of changes, such as the devastating floods in the Ahr Valley in July 2021 or the current floods in Recife, Brazil.

The devastating floods in the Brazilian city of Recife are marked in red

This simplified representation is made possible by the fact that the Dynamic World project has introduced nine different classes of land cover to the maps used, with which soil conditions can be more accurately classified.

These types of land cover can more accurately show, for example, vegetation that was flooded, where trees were once located, or where a recent snowstorm occurred. These recordings are available with a resolution of up to 10 metres, which reflects the actual nature of the Earth’s surface with pinpoint accuracy.

It is easy to see where the vegetation is on the Canary island of La Palma and how the appearance of the island has changed as a result of the massive volcanic eruption.

5000 new photos every day

The data sets are generated, among other things, on the basis of 5,000 images recorded daily by Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellites and entered into the Dynamic World database.

The data goes back to 2015, and Google promises that the most recent images are no more than two to five days old, depending on your location.

Leave a Comment