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ArticleChange

Towns...they're a changin'.

This is change at the human scale – 30 years long – captured by satellite.

Oct 12, 2021


Words: Gippslandia
Images: Google Earth

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You may feel that your hometown never changes.

Maybe that seems like stagnation, but for others, it’s as though we’re sliding into our comfiest fleecy jumper – the years of familiarity fitting perfectly.

In truth, our towns, like us, are endlessly dynamic: imperceptible changes occurring every day that all add up over time.

Recently, the Google Earth platform, which showcases global satellite imagery, launched a ‘timelapse’ feature that allows us to take a god’s-eye view of the transformations occurring across our planet from 1984 to 2020. (For those into data, it’s a multi-petabyte dataset – with one petabyte equal to one million gigabytes!)

Whereas the previous Gippslandia feature described the changes occurring in Gippsland way before we arrived, the transformations shown here have happened in half a lifetime. They highlight the shrinking coastline adjacent to Inverloch, the enlarging cavity of the coal mines as they swell like a hungry caterpillar across the land, and the spreading of Drouin and Warragul as these burgeoning communities continue to grow.

This is change at the human scale. It is the footprint we have left in 36 years.

What will we leave for the generations to come?

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Inverloch (1990 – 2020)
Inverloch (1990 – 2020)

The Latrobe Valley mines (1990 – 2020)
The Latrobe Valley mines (1990 – 2020)

Warragul and Drouin (1990 – 2020)
Warragul and Drouin (1990 – 2020)

Visit earthengine.google.com/timelapse to really explore past and present.


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