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August 26th, 2010
Mapping the Earth’s Changes Over Time

As the world changes, the maps we create also change. Few places remain static and unencumbered by change. Some places are rapidly changing in a continuous fashion – marine environments, land use changes and atmospheric events over wide territories.

As we map these changes we are mindful not only of the characteristics and phenomena leading to these changes, but we are constantly aware of the need for tools and technologies that care capable of observing them.

This can be two-fold, requiring not only the ability to monitor the change and capture it’s nature, but also having the capability fo reach those areas where the changes are taking place.

Some of these places arise in distant areas that are only accessible by air, perhaps helicopter. A good example being able to access those areas currently flooded in Pakistan that are inaccessible. In other cases, the size of the change may be too large to walk or drive and monitor in a day – or even fly. In these cases satellite imagery provides the means to capture up-to-date imagery over large areas quickly so decision-making can begin.

In monitoring and measuring change we are not only considerate of the changes and capturing data for them, but to effectively grasp the nature of change means we must collect and store data, thereby being able to check for changes over time. This is an important and critical need, requiring our attention to format and proper storage. Metadata ensures we are able to read and understand stored data.

Without time there is no change. And only looking at the images and data that exist today is only part of the picture about the world we live in. To truly understand place, we need to look backwards in time – some time.