Amid pessimism over climate change and lack of collective action across the globe, internet behemoth Google is doing its bit to save the planet with its all new Earth Engine. The much awaited Google Labs product is aimed at monitoring and measuring changes in the earth's environment at a global-scale.
An official blog post, which announced the launch of the Earth Engine at the International Climate Change Conference in sunny Cancun, Mexico, explained why the latest offering of the search engine giant is important.
Google Earth Engine is a new technology platform that puts an unprecedented amount of satellite imagery and data-current and historical-online for the first time, the company said.
“The platform will enable scientists to use our extensive computing infrastructure the Google 'cloud' to analyze this imagery. Last year, we demonstrated an early prototype. Since then, we have developed the platform, and are excited now to offer scientists around the world access to Earth Engine to implement their applications,” said Rebecca Moore, Engineering Manager, Google Earth Engine.
Google said Earth Engine can be used for a wide range of applications from mapping water resources to ecosystem services to deforestation.
“It’s part of our broader effort at Google to build a more sustainable future. We’re particularly excited about an initial use of Google Earth Engine to support development of systems to monitor report and verify (MRV) efforts to stop global deforestation,” said Moore.
Also, in collaboration with Matt Hansen and CONAFOR, Mexico’s National Forestry Commission, Google has produced a forest cover and water map of Mexico.
The map required 15,000 hours of computation, but was completed in less than a day on Google Earth Engine, using 1,000 computers over more than 53,000 Landsat scenes (1984-2010).
“We hope that Google Earth Engine will be an important tool to help institutions around the world manage forests more wisely. As we fully develop the platform, we hope more scientists will use new Earth Engine API to integrate their applications online for deforestation, disease mitigation, disaster response, water resource mapping and other beneficial uses,” said Moore.