A new tool from Google shows how the planet is changing in near real time

The planet changes quickly: More than half a million acres are burning in New Mexico. A megadrought is shrinking Lake Mead

The Alps are turning from white to green. Development continues to expand, from cities to massive solar farms

All of these changes impact the Earth’s climate and biodiversity. But in the past, such changes have been difficult to track

A new tool from Google Earth Engine and the nonprofit World Resources Institute pulls from satellite data to build detailed maps

Called Dynamic World, it zooms in on the planet in 10-by-10-meter squares from satellite images collected every two to five days

The program uses artificial intelligence to classify each pixel based on nine categories that range from bare ground to trees, crops, and buildings

As the tool was being built last year, Birch used it in the days after the Caldor Fire, a wildfire that burned more than 200,000 acres in California