The changing face of New Zealand, as seen from space

Auckland, from space (Google Earth)
Auckland, from space (Google Earth)

The world's changed a lot in 30 years, and New Zealand is no exception. Now Google's upgraded Timelapse tool lets us see just how much.

The web giant has added petabytes - yes, petabytes - of new imagery to Google Earth, including satellite data dating back to 1984 for almost every square metre of the planet.

The new images are sharper and truer-to-life than what was previously available - especially those shot by new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2.

More than 5 million images containing 3 quadrillion pixels were loaded up, and turned into 33 global images - each containing almost 1 trillion pixels - that's 100,000 times more than you'll find in a 10-megapixel photo your phone might take.

Those massive images were then turned into 25 million overlapping timelapse movies, which researchers at Carnegie Mellon University used to create a zoomable, pannable interactive map.

It makes it surprisingly easy to check out how anywhere in the world has changed over the years, and make videos that be shared using the Timelapse Tour Editor.

Google teamed up with Time magazine to look at some of the world's climate and disaster hotspots.

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