SALT LAKE CITY — Google Maps and Google Earth have transformed our travel, sense of direction and in some ways our knowledge of the landscapes of the world.
So what more was there to do?
How about time travel?
Earthengine.google.com lets you choose any place on the planet and watch it change over the course of 37 years. The year 1984 is apparently the limit of Google’s satellite coverage of every square inch of the planet.
But 37 years shows a lot.
Reporting on Google’s new tool has focused on images of the impact of climate change on everything from water levels to receding glaciers and shrinking forests. That evidence is also present when you point the engine at Utah. Watching Lake Powell and the Great Salt Lake become shadows of their 1984 selves is a wakeup call.
Thirty seven years also shows how our urban and suburban landscapes have changed.
In 1984, much of the Wasatch Front still saw more acres of farms and empty space than residential and commercial areas. Today, the empty spaces are largely filled.
We’ve included some additional representative examples of Utah changing over time in this online extended video below:
Utah seen through Google Earth engine