Wonderful Engineering

Google’s New Time-lapse Feature Lets You See How A Place Changed Over Time

The amazing advancement in technology has led us to an era where millions (or maybe more) photographs of the same landmarks are taken every day for the sake of posting on social media. Although having so many pictures of the same landmark might seem quite absurd, however, scientists claim that using these photographs, they can better gain insight about how our planet is undergoing changes.

Google has recently created a software that allow for the stitching together of these images to come up with time-lapses which are stunningly amazing and depict the evolution of Earth. Check out the construction of the Goldman Sachs Tower in New York from 2007 to 2010.

The researchers wrote in their study, “First, we cluster 86 million photos into landmarks and popular viewpoints. Then, we sort the photos by date and warp each photo onto a common viewpoint. Finally, we stabilize the appearance of the sequence to compensate for lighting effects and minimize flicker.”

Photos that are geotagged are used only in order to allow the software to locate them. The system has up till now created more than 10,000 time-lapses of over 3,000 landmarks. The process requires about six hours per thousand images that have been arranged.

The team further added in their report, “We see the world at a fixed temporal scale, in which life advances one second at a time. Instead, suppose that you could observe an entire year in a few seconds – a 10 million times speed-up.”

Briksdalsbreen Glacier in Norway can be seen shrinking in this time-lapse.

Researchers have termed tis process as ‘time-lapse mining’ and plan to release the code to the public soon. According to the team, “At this scale, you could see cities expand, glaciers shrink, seasons change and children grow continuously.”

The results are interesting and will prove useful in monitoring the changes that are taking place in our environment.