In 1972, NASA was gearing up to launch the Landstat satellite, and Americans were waking up to the fact that the landscape was changing really, really fast. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Landstat launch, NASA took nominations for areas that have undergone great change over the last four decades, and released customized images of their transformation, as seen from space.
The images include both urban and natural areas, the latter of which are no less transformed than the former. Although the greatest change in Lee County, Florida, came from development, the transformation of Trinity County, California was driven by logging. In North Central Colorado, the images focus on the impact of fire suppression and pine beetle outbreaks on forest lands.
NASA has also released a tutorial to allow data geeks to run their own queries, as well as imagery of dramatically transformed regions around the globe. These include Dubai and the Pearl River Delta in China, whose transformation from from an agricultural backwater to an industrial (and pollution) powerhouse of 36 million residents is captured in eerily beautiful swirls of reds and blues.
Thanks to Rachel Proctor May