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Virtual Earth

Measuring, Monitoring, Mapping and Managing

Earth Sciences / Exploring / EcoMapping / Earth360

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Planet Citizens Navigating in the 21st Century

GreenPolicy360: For over 5 decades, beginning with visionary earth science from space missions in 1960s and 70s, the possibilities for tracking, measuring and monitoring earth's systems have exponentially improved. Today, as we enter the 2020s, many new and critically essential earth imaging, earth observation, and atmospheric science tools, combined with decades of data, baselines and trendlines, dynamic changes, are now usable by scientists in ways the visionaries (such as George Brown) hoped would be gathered and grow into a scientific reality. Applications (APIs in current nomenclature) have at this crucial moment in history become available for use by all people, languages, cultures and nations of the world.


The Commons

Planet Citizens, Planet Scientists

Earth Science Research from Space


Democratization of Space


Planet API

Earth Imaging-New Space

Earth Right Now

Earth Science Vital Signs


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Google Earth Timelapse

Google Earth Engine / Timelapse

To explore Timelapse in Google Earth, go to β€” choose any place on the planet where you want to see time in motion.

Timelapse is a global, zoomable video that lets you see how the Earth has changed over the past 32 years. It is made from 33 cloud-free annual mosaics, one for each year from 1984 to 2016, which are made interactively explorable by Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab's Time Machine library, a technology for creating and viewing zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time.

Using Earth Engine, Google Earth Timelapse combined over 5 million satellite images acquired over the past three decades by 5 different satellites. The majority of the images come from Landsat, a joint USGS/NASA Earth observation program that has observed the Earth since the 1970s. For 2015 and 2016, we combined Landsat 8 imagery with imagery from Sentinel-2A, part of the European Commission and European Space Agency's Copernicus Earth observation program.

Search, pan, or zoom around to begin exploring the new Earth Engine Timelapse, or check out Google Earth's YouTube highlights. To embed the timelapse viewer on your site, use the β€œShare or embed” button above. You can also create a Timelapse tour that moves from one destination to another over time using the Timelapse Tour Editor.

Timelapse illustrates the power of Earth Engine’s cloud-computing model that enables all of us -- scientists, researchers, students, journalists, everyone who uses computers -- to detect changes across Earth. Google Earth reveals map trends, differences on the Earth's surface using Google’s computational infrastructure and multi-petabyte Earth Engine datasets and a deep, multi-year data catalog.

GreenPolicy360: Digital mapping also has a revealing history. Going back a number of years to George E. Brown, a physics-trained engineer who became a Congressman from East LA in many ways was at the center of this history for decades. George Brown was also tied to the history of GreenPolicy360 as a mentor to GreenPolicy360's siterunner. The projects that George Brown worked on pioneered remote imaging, satellite mapping, a first generation of multispectral digital scanning cameras and databases. Landsat was described as "his baby". He saved the unique Landsat program from termination during cutbacks of the Ronald Reagan presidency. He built a foundation of earth science today's generation is building on. The economic/ecological/scientific benefits of LANDSAT, for over fifty years now in operation, are immense.

Flash forward now to Google Earth's move to establish "Timelapse" maps, another in a profound number of extensions and uses to which the earth science of LANDSAT is being employed to benefit humanity, life on earth, and our environmental security.

Here's to the visionaries who dreamt and created what we today take for granted.

Here's to navigating to destinations, from here to there, and to seeing, observing, and understanding the dynamics of change.

Timelapse Data sources

  • NASA Landsat Program, Landsat 4 (1984-1993), Landsat 5 TM (1984-2012), Landsat 7 ETM+ (1999-2013), Landsat 8 OLI (2013-2016), courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls.
  • Copernicus Sentinel Program, Sentinel 2A MSI Level 1C, European Union/ESA/Copernicus, 2015-2016.
  • MOD09GA MODIS/Terra Surface Reflectance Daily L2G. NASA EOSDIS Land Processes DAAC, 2000-2016.
  • MCD43A4 MODIS Terra+Aqua Nadir BRDF-Adjusted Reflectance 16-Day L3. NASA EOSDIS Land Processes DAAC, 2000-2016.
  • ETOPO1 1 Arc-Minute Global Relief Model. National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA.
  • Land Water Mask Derived from MODIS and SRTM L3. Version 5. NASA EOSDIS Land Processes DAAC.
  • Hansen Global Forest Change v1.2 (2000-2014).

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  • In Memoriam: To Congressman George E. Brown from East Los Angeles for his vision and work to launch the Landsat program. Rep. Brown, as a leader on the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, was a key supporter of the Landsat program and its 'open' satellite imagery, science and data that sparked industries and new ways of seeing and applying science to real-world mapping and rising environmental, eco-nomic challenges.


Countries with Largest CO2 Emissions

Carbon Mapping

Using Earth Imaging to Map, Track & Mitigate CO2 Emissions

Carbon Mapper
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Visit Individual Countries / Climate Plans

Climate Change Laws Around the World
Trends in Climate Change Legislation

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United Nations - National Climate Plans Registry

GreenPolicy360: Climate Action Plans Around the World

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Climate Watch Pathways

Via World Resources Institute


Data Lab -

Data Platforms -

Open Data Portal - -

Resource Library -

Permissions & Licensing -


In the Commons of Earth's Atmosphere

It's All Related

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Countries of the World via the MediaWiki at Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) | Encyclopedia Of Earth (EOE)

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EcoExploring / Land Unit Mapping

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World Languages

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Worldometer / World Statistics --

Our World in Data --

The Internet around the World

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World Population


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New, Evolving Ways of Mapping

The many fields of earth and environmental science are open to new ways of seeing, discovering and applying solutions using the latest digital, information technology.

Across the globe and in each local community, new IT capabilities are employing terrestrial data collections techniques and 'eyes in the sky' to deliver data into mapping platform and applications. We are using software platforms and tools to analyze our world and planet's systems in ways never before available.

Across most every industry, our new digital skills touch how we live and how we sustain our environment and improve the quality of our lives.

Let's Look Closer at Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


Wikiview @ArcGIS


Consider the fields of:

  • Agriculture
  • Climate, Weather, and the Atmosphere
  • Conservation and Resources
  • Environmental Management
  • Forestry
  • Mining and Safety
  • Oceans and Fisheries
  • Sustainable Development
  • Water Resources

and many more opportunities in almost every field.

The opportunities to change what has been 'business-as-usual' to 'business-with-vision' are multiplying. Traditional economics is becoming an eco-nomics in the process of our new knowledge base and new ways of monitoring and observing change over time.

Planet Citizens, Planet Scientists @Work

A 'case study' of how one person -- you -- can 'change y/our world' ...

Let's us introduce Bioneer, Rebecca Moore.

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Rebecca Moore, planet citizen and part of our Bioneer's community, Rebecca of Google Earth / Earth Outreach --

Utilizing maps for story-telling is just the beginning of the story, of how we can begin to see our world/planet, and the journeys and changes we make, over time. Our new virtual tools are just beginning to come into view...

GreenPolicy360 highlights Rebecca Moore

Rebecca envisioned setting up Google Outreach -- and she did.

Then Rebecca convinced Google to 'grow' her venture -- and they did.

Here are two history-making ventures that act to change economics of the past to an eco-nomics future.

The Global Fishing Watch and Global Forest Watch, as envisioned and realized, act to enable us, as planet citizens, to improve our world and work toward sustainable economies and resilient, sustainable life systems.

Global Fishing Watch

Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch in Action

Forest Watch & World Resources Institute

Monitoring the World's Forests

Start with where you are... just as Rebecca Moore did, in her home community, her local forest grove...

Google Earth Outreach Is Out in Front


More Maps & Apps Online

Virtual Globe - via Wikipedia


ArcGIS: Mapping & Analytics Platform

Bing Maps and Bing Maps 3D.

Bhuvan is an India-specific virtual globe.

CitySurf Globe, fast adaptation and transfer secured data due to special data storage structure, dynamic spatial data editing on 3D client monitor, data stored in Oracle SDO or PostGIS, flexible authorization models for different user groups (LDAP and Active Directory support) also excellent quality and fast 2D map rendering.

Earth3D, a program that visualizes the Earth in a real-time 3D view. It uses data from NASA, USGS, the CIA and the city of OsnabrΓΌck. Earth3D is free software (GPL).

EarthBrowser, an Adobe Flash/AIR-based virtual globe with real-time weather forecasts, earthquakes, volcanoes, and webcams.


Google Earth, satellite & aerial photos/datasets (including commercial DigitalGlobe images) with international road dataset (first popular virtual globe along with NASA World Wind).

MapGuide Open Source

MapJack covers areas in Canada, France, Latvia, Macau, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States.


Marble, part of the KDE, with data provided by OpenStreetMap, as well as NASA Blue Marble: Next Generation and others. Marble is Free and open-source software (LGPL).

NASA World Wind, USGS topographic maps and several satellite and aerial image datasets, the first popular virtual globe along with Google Earth. World Wind is open-source software (NOSA).


OpenWebGlobe, a virtual globe SDK written in JavaScript using WebGL. OpenWebGlobe is free and open-source software (MIT).

Planet -

QGIS, desktop GIS system.

List of geographic information systems software / Via Wikipedia

'Virtual Globe' software information / Via Wikipedia

Consider (from Wikipedia) how data can be collected for mapping, for GIS, for applications and platforms:

Example of hardware for mapping (GPS and laser rangefinder) and data collection (rugged computer). The current trend for geographical information system (GIS) is that accurate mapping and data analysis are completed while in the field. Depicted hardware (field-map technology) is used mainly for forest inventories, monitoring and mapping.

Data captureβ€”entering information into the systemβ€”consumes much of the time of GIS practitioners. There are a variety of methods used to enter data into a GIS where it is stored in a digital format.

Existing data printed on paper or PET film maps can be digitized or scanned to produce digital data. A digitizer produces vector data as an operator traces points, lines, and polygon boundaries from a map. Scanning a map results in raster data that could be further processed to produce vector data.

Survey data can be directly entered into a GIS from digital data collection systems on survey instruments using a technique called coordinate geometry (COGO). Positions from a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) like Global Positioning System can also be collected and then imported into a GIS. A current trend in data collection gives users the ability to utilize field computers with the ability to edit live data using wireless connections or disconnected editing sessions. This has been enhanced by the availability of low-cost mapping-grade GPS units with decimeter accuracy in real time. This eliminates the need to post process, import, and update the data in the office after fieldwork has been collected. This includes the ability to incorporate positions collected using a laser rangefinder. New technologies also allow users to create maps as well as analysis directly in the field, making projects more efficient and mapping more accurate.

Remotely sensed data also plays an important role in data collection and consist of sensors attached to a platform. Sensors include cameras, digital scanners and lidar, while platforms usually consist of aircraft and satellites. In England in the mid 1990s, hybrid kite/balloons called Helikites first pioneered the use of compact airborne digital cameras as airborne Geo-Information Systems. Aircraft measurement software, accurate to 0.4 mm was used to link the photographs and measure the ground. Helikites are inexpensive and gather more accurate data than aircraft. Helikites can be used over roads, railways and towns where UAVs are banned.

Recently with the development of miniature UAVs, aerial data collection is becoming possible with them. For example, the Aeryon Scout was used to map a 50-acre area with a Ground sample distance of 1 inch (2.54 cm) in only 12 minutes.

The majority of digital data currently comes from photo interpretation of aerial photographs. Soft-copy workstations are used to digitize features directly from stereo pairs of digital photographs. These systems allow data to be captured in two and three dimensions, with elevations measured directly from a stereo pair using principles of photogrammetry. Analog aerial photos must be scanned before being entered into a soft-copy system, for high-quality digital cameras this step is skipped.

Satellite remote sensing provides another important source of spatial data. Here satellites use different sensor packages to passively measure the reflectance from parts of the electromagnetic spectrum or radio waves that were sent out from an active sensor such as radar. Remote sensing collects raster data that can be further processed using different bands to identify objects and classes of interest, such as land cover.

When data is captured, the user should consider if the data should be captured with either a relative accuracy or absolute accuracy, since this could not only influence how information will be interpreted but also the cost of data capture.

After entering data into a GIS, the data usually requires editing, to remove errors, or further processing. For vector data it must be made "topologically correct" before it can be used for some advanced analysis. For example, in a road network, lines must connect with nodes at an intersection. Errors such as undershoots and overshoots must also be removed. For scanned maps, blemishes on the source map may need to be removed from the resulting raster. For example, a fleck of dirt might connect two lines that should not be connected.

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Where Am I?

PlaNet: Google Mapping Program w/ Artificial Intelligence, a New 'MapIt' Era
Google PlaNet Can Look at a Photo, Tell You Where it Was Taken


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More Maps to Guide You Destination-to-Destination


U.S. Nearmap Aerial Imagery

'World Atlas (iOS)

Ultimate Maps Downloader

Maps Open Source

Open Street Map

AI Facebook Mapping, Citizen Mapping, United Nations Mapping

Connecting the World with Better Maps
Facebook’s artificial-intelligence software... capable of mapping more in a week than humanity has mapped in history


The OpenStreetMap project


The UNMap Project

Global Map Site

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New Maps of Global Ecological Land Units

The Global Ecological Land Unit maps are the most detailed look ever at Earth’s ecosystems. Basically, it partitions the planet into squares 50 meters on a sideβ€”roughly the size of a couple of football fields. An ecosystem looks at lithology (that’s rocks and dirt), climate, topography, and land coverβ€”from pristine forest to pavement. Each square on the map combines those categories of data, and every pixel can be described in a single sentenceβ€”say, warm, wet hills on volcanic rocks with mostly evergreen forests. Underneath: reams of reference. A world’s worth of data.

The US Geological Survey pulled that information from a wide swath of sourcesβ€”soil surveys, digital elevation models, satellites, weather stations. But the agency didn’t have the computing power to chew it into meaningful maps. So, they partnered with ESRI, the titanic digital mapping company, which marshaled an army of geographers, analysts, and cartographers to knit everything together. Ecologists have always relied on maps made by experts based on their on-the-ground research. They were good, but subjective. Data is better. β€œIt’s a huge confidence boost to the scientists that we are on the right track to understanding things in a comparable way,” says Charlie Frye, ESRI’s chief cartographer. After sharing it with veteran ecologists, Frye says they responded by telling him that this map showed them what they already knew, but at scales they’d never seen before.

And what’s good for research is good for conservation...

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River Basins & Watersheds

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Smartphone Apps/Browser add-ons/extensions


InMap, Intervention Model for Air Pollution

City by city, a view of what the world is breathing...

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Clean Air Apps, Citizen Science in Action

Citizen Crowdsourcing, Citizen Networking, Citizen Science in Action
Continuing GreenPolicy360's global AQI program

Citizens using the Internet to measure and monitor the impact of pollution and access to the information needed to protect public health.

This is crucial information to know -- and to use. According to Plume Labs, only 0.246% of the earth has access to this vital information.


Mapping Our Air

Breathe Better, Live Healthier and Longer

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Google Maps

Introducing Voyager & Earth View

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Google Earth Pro is now available to download free/February 2015 -

Google Earth

Google Earth Outreach

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Google Earth Outreach, search engine results at GreenPolicy360

Earth Outreach


Microsoft Bing / Virtual Earth

Bing Maps Platform (previously Microsoft Virtual Earth) -


Mapquest (US) -



Web-enabled LandSat Data

NASA World Wind --

"World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Radar Topography data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D..."

NASA Earth Observatory Global Maps

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Join In ! Be a Planet Citizen, Planet Scientist

Measure, Monitor, Map & Manage

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Here Are More 'Maps to Guide You'


U.S. Nearmap Aerial Imagery

World Atlas (iOS)

Ultimate Maps Downloader

Maps Open Source

Open Street Map


Global Mapper

GPS TrackMaker

TopoQuest - US/Canada



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Earth Biosphere Mapping

Global Biodiversity

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Index Mundi --


United Nations / National sites -- Environmental Data --


World Bank/Country Data --


Our World in Data --

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Environmental Performance Index (EPI) --


Environmental Law --


OECD (see Environmental Data) --

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