soil conditions in near real time

With Dynamic World, Google offers a spectacular tool to display the state of soils around the world on maps updated in near real time with unprecedented precision. An effective way to see the evolution of the planet.

The Earth is changing rapidly and radically. An evolution due both to climate change, which accentuates environmental phenomena, such as heat waves, storms, forest fires or floods, and to human activity, such as deforestation and urbanization, which denature the soil to the detriment of fauna and flora. Faced with these planetary upheavals, Google has decided to act. And to help researchers, scientists, economists, organizations and governments develop solutions, the American giant has just launched a new free tool that is as innovative as it is amazing: Dynamic World. Son but? Provide near real-time data on the state of soils around the world, thanks to satellite images and continuously updated maps. All with unprecedented precision, of the order of 10 meters. To monitor what the evolution of the surface of the planet continuously and analyze the ecosystems at work to make hopes and establish effective plans, as explained by Google in its press release.

Created in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and powered by Google Earth and the AI ​​Platform – an artificial intelligence using machine learning –, Dynamic World differs from existing tools, which are generally limited to a single type of ground “coverage” (constructions, vegetation, etc.) in a given area, with a monthly or annual updating rate. Google’s solution goes much further by making it possible to visualize real and current land use around the world, with an unprecedented level of detail and responsiveness. A technological feat, which requires the analysis and addition of some 5,000 satellite images per day…

New York and its surroundings are very urban areas © Google Dynamic World

While Dynamic World is intended primarily for scientific use for study purposes, the service is accessible to everyone via a simple web browser. There is therefore nothing to prevent you from taking a trip there now, out of curiosity, to find out about and become aware of the evolution of the planet. Especially since, in principle, the tool looks a bit like Google Earth, which allows you to observe the Earth in 3D from your smartphone or computer, with such precision that it is possible to find your home. Again, you have to choose an area and zoom in to see more details. For each parcel of approximately 100 m², Google displays the probability that the ground is covered by one of nine types of designated elements, each of which is represented by a color code: water, submerged vegetation, urban constructions, trees, crops, bare ground, grass and snow or ice. Better still, in addition to the current situation, Dynamic World allows you to see the evolution of the soils in an area over a specific period, by dragging a cursor over the image. And the results are truly startling, as can be seen with the eruption of the Taal Volcano that took place in the Philippines in January 2020. All the trees and forests on the island were devastated, did not show up behind them qu bare ground covered in ashes.

The Taal volcano before the eruption © Google Dynamic World
The Taal volcano after its eruption ©Googly Dynamic World

By opening this tool to the scientific community and thus providing a gigantic cartographic database, Google is contributing more to the preservation of the environment. The subject also seems to be of more and more interest to the Internet giant, which, in a more practical and more daily register, has begun to succeed in Google Maps with a new function allowing you to know the quality of the air. We just have to hope that Dynamic World will serve not only to raise awareness of the state of the planet but also to develop solutions to preserve it.

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