Cities across the globe have seen unprecedented growth in recent decades. While revisiting a city after a period of time can reveal some surprising changes, the true extent of the expansion of some urban centers can only be truly appreciated from above. Way above.
More From Landsat:
The Landsat satellite program is the longest continuous archive of images of Earth from space in existence. Run by the USGS and NASA since Landsat 1 launched on July 23, 1972, this record of the surface of our planet reveals invaluable insight for scientists and the public alike. A record like this is particularly useful for studying change and understanding the human impact on the landscape.
In celebration of four decades of collection of irreplaceable data and incredible images, the Landsat team released these images of change in 11 cities and urban areas all over the world.
Images and captions courtesy of NASA and the USGS.
Over the years of the Landsat program, the desert city of Las Vegas has gone through a massive growth spurt. The outward expansion of the city over the last quarter of a century is shown here with two false-color Landsat 5 images (Aug. 3, 1984, and Nov. 2, 2011). The dark purple grid of city streets and the green of irrigated vegetation grow out in every direction into the surrounding desert. These images were created using reflected light from the shortwave infrared, near-infrared, and green portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.