Video Map - visual stories of change

Fedor Baart, Gennadii Donchyts, Giorgos Dimopoulos, Juliette Cortesarevalo, P.J.M. van Oosterom, Martijn Meijers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


One of the challenges as a researcher is to provide the context in current events. A coastal city floods, a reservoir runs dry, a new dam is created, a river finds a new path, part of a country experiences a drought. For each of these events, relevant geospatial datasets exist. Collecting, processing and visualizing these datasets requires experience, time and resources. These are often not available in the context of current events. What if we could make these EO data available to help journalism, citizen science, and researchers to quickly evaluate current events?

Here we show a new tool to create and share interactive video map stories. The tool allows to easily turn multitemporal EO or reanalysis data into a set of georeferenced and tiled videos which can be used to better communicate Earth’s changes in journalism, social media, or to support research. The tool allows concurrent generation of video map stories by multiple users via a map-based interface which can then be easily shared.

The open-source app makes use of Video Map tools (built on Google Earth Engine API) to expose multitemporal geospatial datasets as a zoomable playing video story, which can be enriched by markers, and put into the context of a storytelling layout. The story can be shared using a unique url on social media.

We find that providing video maps is an effective way to put events into context. We will present several examples of video maps. Several applications optical images (Landsat and Sentinel-2), and surface-water change detection show the context of a day zero event in South Africa. Moving populations based on the night lights of the VIIRS show challenges in the Ethiopian, Sudanese, Eritrean border after the dam was constructed. Ocean and coastal currents derived from the Global Tide and Surge Model and HYCOM reanalysis allow to reconstruct the currents and reconstruct the final days of a ship lost at sea. Video maps based on the TROPOMI mission allow to zoom in and look at the sources of atmospheric pollution (NO2).

By making these stories available at the fingertips of journalists, citizens and scientists we hope to help provide more detailed and accurate context for the many challenges that our world is currently facing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAGU Fall Meeting 2019 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 9 Dec 201913 Dec 2019


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


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