Dynamic World: Google shows in real time the changes on the planet

Before and after: The destruction in the besieged city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine is marked in red.

Photo: Google/Dynamic World / copyright

Ukrainian troops continue to try with all their might to maintain control over the strategically important city of Severodonetsk and push back Russian troops from other locations.

In Severodonetsk, “literally every meter is fought for,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

With the Dynamic World (or Dynamic World, in Spanish) application you can now see, almost in real time, to what extent the war has changed the industrial region of Donbas. Google has made this tool available for free, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Make changes visible

The freely accessible data set is available to everyone and, according to Dynamic World, should also be used by scientists, governments and companies.

“This level of detail allows scientists and policymakers to see and quantify the magnitude of recent events—such as snow storms, wildfires, or volcanic eruptions—anywhere in the world in a matter of days,” says Dynamic World.

Ground conditions classified differently

The before and after images are particularly attractive to the public. These quickly make visible the full magnitude of changes such as those caused by the devastating floods in the Ah Valley, in July 2021r, in Germany, or the current floods in Recife, Brazil.

This simplified data display is possible because the Dynamic World project has introduced nine different types of land cover for the maps used, with which ground conditions can be classified more accurately.

These types of ground cover can more accurately indicate, for example, flooded vegetation, where trees used to be, or where there was a recent snowstorm. And these images are available at a resolution of 10 meters, which already very accurately reflects the real composition of the earth’s surface.

It is easy to see, for example, where there used to be vegetation on the Canary Island of La Palma and how the appearance of the island has changed as a result of the huge volcanic eruption.

5,000 new images daily

The data sets are created, among other things, from the 5,000 images taken daily by the Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellites and entered into the Dynamic World database.

The data goes back as far as 2015, and Google promises that the most recent images are no more than two to five days old, depending on location.