Satellite imagery can be put to many good uses, from military and meteorology, to biology and geological.
It can also be used to give us new, interesting, and beautiful perspectives on our world. The website Daily Overview, started by Benjamin Grant in 2013, does just that, showcasing examples of agriculture, infrastructure, or transportation that are striking and thought-provoking when seen from above.
Inspired by a video he saw of astronauts talking about what it’s like to see the earth from space, Grant uses Google Maps and extensive research to find unique locations, often drawing attention to places where man’s interactions with nature are most visible.
While the “overviews,” as Grant calls them, can be fascinating for their visual effect, Grant hopes viewers “go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that you’re seeing, and consider what that means for our planet. That is when I believe the project is most effective,” he tells Business Insider.
(All captions courtesy of Daily Overview)
Vineyards swirl on the hills of Huelva, Spain. The climate there is ideal for grape growing with an average temperature of 64 degrees and a relative humidity between 60% and 80%.
Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid, Spain is one of the largest cemeteries in the world. The number of gravesites - estimated at five million - is greater than the population of Madrid itself.
Residential developments in Killeen, Texas, increase every year to support the needs of the growing town directly south and east of the Fort Hood military base. In 2013, there were 923,400 home construction projects in the United States.
The 450-acre Pinecastle Bombing Range in the Ocala National Forest is the only place on the East Coast where the United States Navy can do live impact training. The Navy drops nearly 20,000 bombs a year at the site, a few hundred of which are live.
Davis -- Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona is home to the aircraft boneyard for all excess American military and government aircraft. The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group takes care of more than 4,400 aircraft, making it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a solar thermal power project in the Mojave Desert. It deploys 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors, focusing solar energy on boilers located on three centralized solar power towers. With a construction cost of $2.2 billion and a planned gross capacity of 392 megawatts, Ivanpah is the largest plant of its kind in the world.
Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont, is an active stratovolcano on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. A change in vegetation is sharply delineated between the national forest that encircles the volcano and the surrounding land comprised of intensively-farmed dairy pastures.
Brighton Pier, also known as Palace Pier, is constructed off the coast of the English city of Brighton. Extending 1,719 feet into the English Channel, the structure contains numerous restaurants, rides, and roller coasters.
Dramatic evidence of the catastrophic erosion in northwestern Madagascar is seen at the rapidly expanding Betsiboka River Delta. Deforestation of the country's central highlands for cultivation and pastureland has resulted in the most significant erosion recorded anywhere in the world (approximately 112 tons/acre), which transforms the river to this vivid orange colour.
Cranberry bogs colour the landscape of Carver, Massachusetts. Cranberries are a Native American wetland fruit that grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. Farmers began growing cranberries in Carver the 1870s, and by the 1940s, the harvest was the largest in the world.
Seaweed farms on Nusa Lembongan -- a small island located southeast of Bali, Indonesia -- have an average harvest of 50,000 pounds per month. Once the seaweed is extracted from the water, it is dried by the sun for 3-7 days, depending on the season.
A rare 'turbine interchange' connects the SR 9A and SR 202 in Jacksonville, Florida. Also known as a whirlpool interchange, this structure consists of left-turning ramps sweeping around a center interchange, thereby creating a spiral pattern of right-hand traffic.
Vineyards grow on the hillsides of Weinstadt, a town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As the state's fourth largest community of wine production with vineyards expanding a total of 489 hectares, the town's name appropriately translates as 'Wine City.'
Mina, a neighbourhood of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, contains more than 100,000 air-conditioned and fire-proof tents that provide temporary accommodation to pilgrims who are visiting the holy city.
Cadiz Ranch in the middle of the Mojave Desert is an organic farm that grows lemons, table grapes, and squash on more than 300 acres of irrigated desert. This is made possible by seven wells that pump 2,000 gallons of water per minute at all times from an underground aquifer.
Mir Mine is an inactive, open-pit diamond mine located in Mirny, Eastern Siberia, Russia. The mine is 1,722 feet deep and has a diameter of 3,900 feet (1,200 m), making it the second largest excavated hole in the world. Active for 44 years, the mine had an output of 10 million carats of diamond per year during peak production in the 1960s.
For the past 1300 years, the Hani people of Yuanyang County, China have cultivated spectacular, terraced rice patties on mountainsides.
Zaatari Refugee Camp is a settlement located 6 miles east of Mafraq, Jordan. The camp first opened in July 2012 to host Syrians fleeing their ongoing civil war. While the number of refugees in Zaatari exceeded 156,000 in 2013, the current population estimate stands at 80,000.
The tightly gridded streets of Nezahualcóyotl, a municipality of Mexico City, are home to some of the capital's poorest citizens who have often migrated there from other parts of the country.
South of Moab, Utah, water is diverted from the Colorado River into the settling ponds of a potash mine in order to expedite evaporation.
Think you're busy this morning? The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest port in the United States (and 16th in the world) with a container volume of 7.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units.
The Spreckles Beet Sugar Factory is located in Brawley, California. After machines extract sugar from sugar beet roots, the leftover (and colourful) beet pulp is dried on a massive paved area next to the factory. The pulp is then used a major ingredient in dairy feed.
These circular patterns occur as crops are watered by overhead sprinklers, which are mounted to motor-driven, rotating towers that distribute water evenly throughout the fields.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. The monolith - towering 1141 feet high - is a sacred site to the Aboriginal people of the area who first settled there 10,000 years ago. Annual visitor numbers rose to over 400,000 by the year 2000.
Los Caracoles Pass (or 'Snails Pass') is located in a remote section of the Andes Mountains on the Chilean side of the border with Argentina. The twisting road climbs to an elevation of 10,419 feet, has no roadside safety barriers, and is frequented by large trucks.
When tulips, like these in the fields of Keukenhof, were introduced to Holland in the 1600s, the flower became so popular that an economy of trading known as Tulip Mania burgeoned nearly overnight. At the peak of tulip mania, single bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.
The Great Wall of China spans over 13,000 miles and was used as both a security measure and a trade route. Today, about 10 million tourists visit the wall a year.
The Caltex/Chevron Refinery in Cape Town is one of the largest in the South Africa with an output of 100,000 barrels per day. Because the complex was built in close proximity to residential areas, the resulting pollution has led to serious health complications and the implementation of more stringent environmental restrictions.
The Norfolk Southern Railway operates 21,300 miles of track in 22 states, primarily in the Southeastern US. Inman Yard in Atlanta, Georgia, pictured here, is one of the major rail yards that houses a portion of the operation's 3,648 locomotives and 79,082 freight cars.
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