Mexico: Google launched Google Earth Engine at the International Climate Change Conference in sunny Cancun, Mexico. Google Earth Engine is a new technology platform that puts huge amount of satellite imagery and data—current and historical—online for the first time. It enabled global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment. The platform will enable scientists to use google’s extensive computing infrastructure—the Google “cloud”—to analyse this imagery.
Why is this important?
The images of Earth from space contain a wealth of information, ready to be extracted and applied to many societal challenges. Scientific analysis can transform these images from a mere set of pixels into useful information—such as the locations and extent of global forests, detecting how forests are changing over time, directing resources for disaster response or water resource mapping.
The challenge has been to cope with the massive scale of satellite imagery archives, and the computational resources required for their analysis. As a result, many of these images have never been seen, much less analysed. Now, scientists will be able to build applications to mine this treasure trove of data on Google Earth Engine, providing several advantages:
– Landsat satellite data archives over the last 25 years for most of the developing world available online, ready to be used together with other datasets including MODIS.
– Reduced time to do analyses, using Google’s computing infrastructure. By running analyses across thousands of computers, for example, unthinkable tasks are now possible for the first time.
– New features that will make analysis easier, such as tools that pre-process the images to remove clouds and haze.
– Collaboration and standardisation by creating a common platform for global data analysis.
Google Earth Engine can be used for a wide range of applications—from mapping water resources to ecosystem services to deforestation. The search giant also announced that it is donating 10 million CPU-hours a year over the next two years on the Google Earth Engine platform, to strengthen the capacity of developing world nations to track the state of their forests, in preparation for REDD.
For the least developed nations, Google Earth Engine will provide critical access to terabytes of data, a growing set of analytical tools and our high-performance processing capabilities.
Source: Google Blog