Google makes 40 years of Earth observations available to researchers with Google Earth Engine!
Last week I spent 3 days at Google for their annual Google Earth Engine Summit, learning about new features and applications of their Google Earth Engine technology. If you haven’t seen Google Earth Engine, I encourage you to go to https://earthengine.google.com and use the signup link to get an account. It’s absolutely free for non-commercial use and it’s capabilities are pretty mind-blowing. In a nutshell, Google is taking every bit of public domain satellite, climate, weather, and other datasets it can get it’s servers on and putting it into a browser-based platform that can leverage that data with traditional remote-sensing algorithms, at a global scale.
An excellent example of this is Matthew Hansen, et al’s Global Forest Change project, [ https://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest ], which demonstrates deforestation and reforestation dynamics, at a scale of 30m per pixel, for the entire globe. Google estimates that the calculations necessary for the project, applied to a dozen years of LANDSAT imagery, would have taken over 300 years on a typical desktop computer, but in Google’s Earth Engine platform, those calculations took about 3 days.
Here at Stanford, David Lobell and his team at the School of Earth Energy and Environment are using Google Earth Engine to build a “Scalable Satellite-based Yield Mapper” that provides reliable crop productivity data at the field or sub-field level, globally. [ http://www.g-feed.com/2015/05/introducing-scym.html ]
The Stanford Geospatial Center will be working with the Google Earth Engine team to bring them to the Stanford Campus for a workshop on Google Earth Engine during the Autumn Quarter, so sign up for the StanfordGIS Listserv [ https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/stanfordgis ] to receive updates on that and other events of interest to Stanford researchers who need to leverage geospatial technologies and data in their research.