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Google Earth time lapses reveal pace of change in Northeast B.C.

Mines, seismic lines, roads, and development unfold in 1984-2016 satellite time lapses
Google Earth engine includes satellite images of Dawson Creek dating back to 1984.

A new satellite imaging program launched by Google this week gives a sense of the rapid pace of change and development in Northeast B.C. 

This week, Google unveiled Earth Engine, a searchable interface drawing on more than five million satellite images going back three decades. Much of the data comes from the Landsat satellite, a USGS/NASA Earth observation program launched in the 1970s. 

The program gives an eyeopening look at the pace of development in Northeast B.C. Cities grow, roads push into the hinterlands, seismic lines chart oil and gas development, mines expand into the Earth (and mysteriously, winter never appears).

We’ve picked out five time lapses that show how the region’s major cities and resource regions have changed. See anything? Let us know in the comments.


Dawson Creek


The city has undergone tremendous development since the 1980s, but keep in mind: we’re still more or less the same population. Keep an eye on the housing developments in the northwest part of town, as well as the seaplane base near the airport. 

Fort St. John


More, more, more. Fort St. John grew every which way in the past few decades as money poured into the region. 

Pink Mountain 

The area around Pink Mountain is one of the most active natural gas regions in the Montney shale. Watch the gas sites and seismic lines proliferate.

Tumbler Ridge

The insta-town of Tumbler Ridge was incorporated in the early 80s. To tap the rich coal deposits in the area, roads, railways and transmission lines were built while mines proliferated across the region.  

One Island Lake 

Another example of oil and gas development, this time in the South Peace.


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