Featured Image: the City of Nairobi by night/ Mutua    Matheka

In recent years, we have had a different appreciation of Nairobi since Mutua Matheka went up a building and saw the city in a different light. A view so radical as it showed the city as none of the numerous media outlets had ever done before.

Now, for another totally new view,  what if you could also see  the actual evolution of Nairobi since 1983? Well, you can. In fact, you can see the evolution, since 1983, of any location, any where in the world. Google Earth Engine combined over 5 million satellite images acquired over the past three decades by 5 different satellites to create a time-lapse of the world whose revelation show how the world has been drastically altered.

In Nairobi, a visual representation of the already known, like the explosion in the sheer number of houses that have come up since, or more recently, the building of new and bigger roads that are more distinct from space await you.

The images come from two earth observation programmes  Landsat, a joint USGS/NASA program that has observed the Earth since the 1970s, and the European Commission and European Space Agency’s Copernicus (for 2015-2016) . Majority of the images come from the former.

Earth Engine is a platform by Google for scientific analysis and visualization of geospatial datasets. It stores satellite imagery going back forty years. The data is accessible for use for public benefit and by businesses and governments.Some of the case studies that have put the data to use can be found here. Earth Engine also provides APIs in JavaScript and Python.

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