Internet giant Google, certainly no slouch when it comes to dealing with issues related to green technology, opened up another front for itself in this arena last week at the International Climate Change Conference. There it announced Google Earth Engine, which it says will enable “global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment” to help researchers keep track of climate change.
Google Earth Engine will allow scientists to use Google’s computing infrastructure, or “cloud” as Google calls it, to analyze massive amounts of current and historical satellite imagery online for the first time. It is believed it will be usable for a variety of applications, including mapping water resources and tracking deforestation. In regards to the latter item, Google was particularly happy to note the initial use of Earth Engine to “support development of systems to monitor, report and verify (MRV) efforts to stop global deforestation.”
To assist scientists in making use of the Google Earth Engine platform, the company plans to “donate” 10 million CPU-hours a year over the next two years “to strengthen the capacity of developing world nations to track the state of their forests.” Beyond this, as Google more fully develops Earth Engine, it hopes scientists will use new Earth Engine API to integrate their applications online.
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