Science

Google tool shows water and vegetation on Earth’s surface in near real time

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Google’s latest mapping tool uses the power of Google Maps to provide data on water, vegetation, snow and human development in near real time.

The tool, called Dynamic World, can help understand the impacts of environmental disruption, flooding, wildfires, deforestation and urban development, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

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“Global land shrinkage is pushing us to find smarter, more efficient and more sustainable ways to use land,” said Craig Hanson, vice president of food, forestry, water and oceans at the World Resources Institute, in a blog post. we need reliable monitoring of every hectare on the planet in near real time.

Google declined to comment on this story.

According to Google, current land cover maps can take time to generate and can only be updated monthly or yearly. Using artificial intelligence and images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite, it can analyze 5,000 images per day, showing data from the past two days. It can also extract data as early as June 2015. Google says Dynamic World can help researchers create unique and specific maps, such as analyzing crops between specific dates.

The project was implemented in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and is supported by the Google Earth Engine and artificial intelligence platform. It provides global data with a resolution of 10 meters. This means that the dynamic world can display not only concrete in a built-up city, but also small parks located between buildings. Google says such real-time data could give scientists and policymakers a better understanding of climate and land change to “make more accurate predictions and better plans to protect our planet in the future.”

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