Timelapse Maps: An Overview of Our Changing Planet - Visual Capitalist
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Timelapse Maps: An Overview of Our Changing Planet

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The dramatic growth of Dubai, UAE (1984–2018)

Humankind’s impact on the world is obvious, but our spatial patterns are sometimes difficult to recognize from the ground.

Publicly accessible, high-quality satellite imagery has been a game changer in terms of understanding the scope of forces such as urbanization and land use patterns.

Google Timelapse Maps

Google Earth’s timelapsed satellite maps capture the drastic changes the planet’s surface has undergone over the past 34 years. Each timelapse comprises 35 cloud-free pictures, which have been made interactive by the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.

Three different satellites acquired 15 million images over the past three decades. The majority of the images come from Landsat, a joint USGS/NASA Earth observation program. For the years 2015 to 2018, Google combined imagery from Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2A. Sentinel is part of the European Commission and European Space Agency’s Copernicus Earth observation program.

Deforestation, urban growth, and natural resource extraction are just some of the human patterns and impacts that can be visualized.

Editor’s note: to view the following timelapses, press the play button on any map. You can also view individual years in the time periods as well. On slower internet connections you may need to have patience, as the series of images can take some time to load or display.

Cities and Infrastructure

Urban Growth: Pearl River Delta, China

Up to 1979, China’s Pearl River Delta had seen little urbanization. However in 1980, the People’s Republic of China established a special economic zone, Shenzhen, to attract foreign investment. In the following years, buildings and paved surfaces rapidly replaced the rural settings around the river delta. This is the Lunjiao area just south of Guangzhou.

Urban Growth: Cairo, Egypt

The present-day location of Cairo has been a city for more than 1,000 years, and its constrained urban footprint is now bursting at the seams thanks to Egypt’s population growth. A new city is being built in the nearby stretch of desert land (agricultural land is scarce) that will one day replace ancient Cairo as Egypt’s capital. If the government’s ambitious plans are realized, this desert boomtown could have a population of over 6 million people.

The Egyptian state needed this kind of project a long time ago. Cairo [is] a capital that is full of traffic jams, very crowded. The infrastructure cannot absorb more people.

– Khaled el-Husseiny Soliman

Urban Growth: Phoenix, Arizona

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Phoenix is the fastest-growing city in the United States. Over the past two decades, the suburb of Chandler evolved from agricultural uses to sprawling residential developments. This pattern was repeated in a number of cities in the Southern U.S., most notably Las Vegas.

Construction: The Brandenburg Airport, Germany

Berlin’s long overdue Brandenburg Airport began construction in 2006, with the airport initially expected to open in 2011. However, the airport has been subject to numerous delays and the airport now has a new opening date. Berlin Brandenburg Airport is now expected to open on Oct. 31, 2020.

Megaproject: Yangshan Port

The Port of Shanghai became one of the most important transportation hubs in the world after the completion of its offshore expansion – the Yangshan Port.

Building this massive port was a gargantuan engineering feat. First, land reclamation was used to connect two islands 20 miles southeast of Shanghai. Next, the port was connected to the mainland via the Donghai Bridge, which opened in 2005 as the world’s longest sea crossing. The six-lane bridge took 6,000 workers two and half years to construct.

In 2016, the Port of Shanghai was the largest shipping port in the world, handling 37.1 million twenty-foot container equivalents.

Resource Extraction

Mining: Chuquicamata, Chile

Chuquicamata is the largest open pit copper mine by volume in the world, located 800 miles north of the Chilean capital, Santiago. In 2019, Chile’s national mining company Codelco initiated underground mining at Chuquicamata.

Deforestation: Ñuflo de Chávez, Bolivia

Ñuflo de Chávez is one of the 15 provinces of the Bolivian Santa Cruz Department. Satellite images of southern Ñuflo de Chávez illustrate deforestation from agrarian expansion in the jungles of the Amazon. From the air, the deforestation takes on a unique grid pattern with circular clearings. Developed as part of an organized resettlement scheme, each circle is anchored by community amenities and housing, and surrounded by fields of soybeans cultivated for export.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, 8.4 million soccer fields of land have been deforested in the Amazon over the past decade.

Shale Gas Boom: Odessa, Texas

The small town of Odessa sits in the middle of one of the most productive shale gas regions in the world, the Permian Basin. The region is expected to generate an average of 3.9 million barrels per day, roughly a third of total U.S. oil production. While the gas may come from underground, the pursuit of this source of energy has drastically altered the landscape, marking the terrain with roads, wells, and housing for workers.

Changing Environment

Drying of the Aral Sea: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

It took almost 30 years to make a sea disappear. When the Soviet Union diverted the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers to irrigate cotton and rice fields in the 1960s, it turned the Aral Sea into a desert. Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the region is struggling to restore water levels and aquatic habitats.

Glacier Retreat: Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA

The Columbia Glacier is a tidewater glacier that flows through the valleys of the Chugach Mountains and into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Increased temperatures initiated a retreat in the length of the glacier over three decades ago. Once in motion, a glacier’s retreat accelerates due to glacial mechanics. It is one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world.

Changing Rivers: Iquitos, Peru

Not all change is from humans. There are natural physical processes that continue to shape the Earth’s surface. For example, rivers that experience heavy water flows can be altered through erosion, changing the bends.

Better Perspectives, Better Decisions?

Often, the greatest impacts that occur are out of sight and mind. However, with the increasing availability of satellite technology and improved distribution of images through platforms such as Google Timelapse, the impact of human activity is impossible to ignore.

The bulk of visible changes come from human economic activity, because it is more easily observable on a smaller time scale. However, it’s also worth remembering that there are still many natural processes that take generations, if not thousands of years to affect change.

It is one thing to hear the facts and figures of humankind’s impact on the environment, but to see the change is a whole other story.

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Mapped: Corruption in Countries Around the World

Which countries are the most (and least) corrupt? This map shows corruption around the world, and the movers and shakers over the last decade.

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Mapped Corruption in Countries Around the World Share

Mapped: Corruption in Countries Around the World

How bad is public sector corruption around the world, and how do different countries compare?

No matter your system of government, the public sector plays a vital role in establishing your economic mobility and political freedoms. Measuring corruption—the abuse of power for private gain—reveals how equal a system truly is.

For more than a decade, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International has been the world’s most widely-used metric for scoring corruption. This infographic uses the 2021 CPI to visualize corruption in countries around the world, and the biggest 10-year changes.

Which Countries are Most (and Least) Corrupt?

How do you measure corruption, which includes behind-the-scenes deals, nepotism, corrupt prosecution, and bribery?

Over the last few decades, the CPI has found success doing so indirectly through perceptions.
By aggregating multiple analyses from country and business experts, the index assigns each country a score on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Here are the results of the 2021 CPI, with the least corrupt countries at the top:

Corruption Perception by CountryScore (2021)
Denmark88
Finland88
New Zealand88
Norway85
Singapore85
Sweden85
Switzerland84
Netherlands82
Luxembourg81
Germany80
UK78
Hong Kong76
Austria74
Canada74
Estonia74
Iceland74
Ireland74
Australia73
Belgium73
Japan73
Uruguay73
France71
Seychelles70
UAE69
Bhutan68
Taiwan68
Chile67
U.S.67
Barbados65
Bahamas64
Qatar63
Portugal62
South Korea62
Lithuania61
Spain61
Israel59
Latvia59
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines59
Cabo Verde58
Costa Rica58
Slovenia57
Italy56
Poland56
Saint Lucia56
Botswana55
Dominica55
Fiji55
Georgia55
Czechia54
Malta54
Mauritius54
Cyprus53
Grenada53
Rwanda53
Saudi Arabia53
Oman52
Slovakia52
Armenia49
Greece49
Jordan49
Namibia49
Malaysia48
Croatia47
Cuba46
Montenegro46
China45
Romania45
Sao Tome and Principe45
Vanuatu45
Jamaica44
South Africa44
Tunisia44
Ghana43
Hungary43
Kuwait43
Senegal43
Solomon Islands43
Bahrain42
Benin42
Bulgaria42
Burkina Faso42
Belarus41
Timor-Leste41
Trinidad and Tobago41
India40
Maldives40
Colombia39
Ethiopia39
Guyana39
Kosovo39
Morocco39
North Macedonia39
Suriname39
Tanzania39
Vietnam39
Argentina38
Brazil38
Indonesia38
Lesotho38
Serbia38
Turkey38
Gambia37
Kazakhstan37
Sri Lanka37
Cote d'Ivoire36
Ecuador36
Moldova36
Panama36
Peru36
Albania35
Bosnia and Herzegovina35
Malawi35
Mongolia35
Thailand35
El Salvador34
Sierra Leone34
Algeria33
Egypt33
Nepal33
Philippines33
Zambia33
Eswatini32
Ukraine32
Gabon31
Mexico31
Niger31
Papua New Guinea31
Azerbaijan30
Bolivia30
Djibouti30
Dominican Republic30
Kenya30
Laos30
Paraguay30
Togo30
Angola29
Liberia29
Mali29
Russia29
Mauritania28
Myanmar28
Pakistan28
Uzbekistan28
Cameroon27
Kyrgyzstan27
Uganda27
Bangladesh26
Madagascar26
Mozambique26
Guatemala25
Guinea25
Iran25
Tajikistan25
Central African Republic24
Lebanon24
Nigeria24
Cambodia23
Honduras23
Iraq23
Zimbabwe23
Eritrea22
Congo21
Guinea-Bissau21
Chad20
Comoros20
Haiti20
Nicaragua20
Sudan20
Burundi19
Democratic Republic of the Congo19
Turkmenistan19
Equatorial Guinea17
Libya17
Afghanistan16
North Korea16
Yemen16
Venezuela14
Somalia13
Syria13
South Sudan11

Ranking at the top of the index with scores of 88 are Nordic countries Denmark and Finland, as well as New Zealand.

They’ve consistently topped the CPI over the last decade, and Europe in general had 14 of the top 20 least corrupt countries. Asia also had many notable entrants, including Singapore (tied for #4), Hong Kong (#12), and Japan (tied for #18).

Comparatively, the Americas only had two countries score in the top 20 least corrupt: Canada (tied for #13) and Uruguay (tied for #18). With a score of 67, the U.S. scored at #28 just behind Bhutan, the UAE, and France.

Scoring towards the bottom of the index were many countries currently and historically going through conflict, primarily located in the Middle East and Africa. They include Afghanistan, Venezuela, Somalia, and South Sudan. The latter country finishes at the very bottom of the list, with a score of just 11.

How Corruption in Countries Has Changed (2012–2021)

Corruption is a constant and moving global problem, so it’s also important to measure which countries have had their images improved (or worsened).

By using CPI scores dating back to 2012, we can examine how country scores have changed over the last decade:

Change in Corruption by Country10-Year Trend (2012-2021)
Seychelles+18
Armenia+15
Italy+14
Greece+13
Myanmar+13
Guyana+11
Uzbekistan+11
Estonia+10
Latvia+10
Belarus+10
Saudi Arabia+9
Kazakhstan+9
Laos+9
Timor-Leste+8
Vietnam+8
Afghanistan+8
North Korea+8
Taiwan+7
Lithuania+7
Senegal+7
Cote d'Ivoire+7
Angola+7
Sudan+7
South Korea+6
Slovakia+6
China+6
Jamaica+6
Benin+6
Ethiopia+6
Indonesia+6
Nepal+6
Ukraine+6
Papua New Guinea+6
Austria+5
Ireland+5
Bhutan+5
Czechia+5
Oman+5
Montenegro+5
Kosovo+5
Paraguay+5
Iraq+5
Somalia+5
United Kingdom+4
Costa Rica+4
Burkina Faso+4
India+4
Tanzania+4
Ecuador+4
Georgia+3
Sao Tome and Principe+3
Tunisia+3
Colombia+3
Argentina+3
Gambia+3
Sierra Leone+3
Azerbaijan+3
Kenya+3
Kyrgyzstan+3
Tajikistan+3
Zimbabwe+3
Trinidad and Tobago+2
Morocco+2
Suriname+2
Albania+2
Turkmenistan+2
Luxembourg+1
Germany+1
Uruguay+1
United Arab Emirates+1
Jordan+1
Namibia+1
Croatia+1
Romania+1
South Africa+1
Bulgaria+1
Egypt+1
Russia+1
Pakistan+1
Cameroon+1
Guinea+1
Cambodia+1
Haiti+1
Chad+1
Norway0
France0
Rwanda0
Moldova0
Togo0
Bangladesh0
Burundi0
Hong Kong-1
Japan-1
Portugal-1
Israel-1
Malaysia-1
Kuwait-1
Serbia-1
Mongolia-1
Algeria-1
Philippines-1
Denmark-2
Finland-2
New Zealand-2
Singapore-2
Switzerland-2
Netherlands-2
Belgium-2
Cabo Verde-2
Poland-2
Cuba-2
Ghana-2
Panama-2
Peru-2
Malawi-2
Thailand-2
Niger-2
Dominican Republic-2
Uganda-2
Central African Republic-2
Democratic Republic of the Congo-2
Sweden-3
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-3
Dominica-3
Malta-3
Mauritius-3
Sri Lanka-3
Mexico-3
Mauritania-3
Iran-3
Nigeria-3
Eritrea-3
Equatorial Guinea-3
Spain-4
Slovenia-4
North Macedonia-4
El Salvador-4
Zambia-4
Gabon-4
Bolivia-4
Guinea-Bissau-4
Libya-4
Chile-5
Qatar-5
Brazil-5
Eswatini-5
Mali-5
Mozambique-5
Honduras-5
Congo-5
Venezuela-5
United States of America-6
Djibouti-6
Madagascar-6
Lebanon-6
Bahamas-7
Lesotho-7
Bosnia and Herzegovina-7
Yemen-7
Iceland-8
Guatemala-8
Comoros-8
Bahrain-9
Nicaragua-9
Canada-10
Botswana-10
Barbados-11
Turkey-11
Australia-12
Hungary-12
Liberia-12
Cyprus-13
Syria-13
Saint Lucia-15
FijiN/A
GrenadaN/A
VanuatuN/A
Solomon IslandsN/A
MaldivesN/A
South SudanN/A

The biggest climber with +18 was Seychelles, Africa’s smallest country and also its least corrupt with a score of 70. Other notable improvements include neighboring countries Estonia, Latvia, and Belarus, with Estonia rising into the top 15 least corrupt countries.

On the opposite side, both Australia (-12) and Canada (-10) have actually fallen out of the top 10 least corrupt countries over the last decade. They’re joined by decreases in Hungary (-12) and Syria (-13), which is now ranked as the world’s second-most corrupt country.

Which countries will rise and fall in corruption perceptions over the next 10 years, and how do your perceptions compare with this list?

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Misc

10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work

Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.

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The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.

In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.

Leading in a Hybrid World of Work

This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.

leadership

>>Download Dr.Vince Molinaro’s Community Builder Ebook Today

The Critical Need for Leadership Communities

In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:

  • Limiting innovative ideas
  • Causing overwhelm and stress
  • Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
  • Promoting a macho culture
  • Creating heroes and zeros in organizations

This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.

What does a weak leadership look like?

Weak Leadership Cultures

When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:

  1. They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
  2. They fail to inspire the people they lead.
  3. They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
  4. They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
  5. They work at cross-purposes with each other.
  6. They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
  7. They don’t engage stakeholders.
  8. They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
  9. They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
  10. They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.

When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.

It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.

The Characteristics of Leadership Communities

Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?

CharacteristicAligned Behavior
1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organizationBe determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company
2. Create excitement about the futureSpread optimism about the company, even through adversity
3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leadersCommit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive
4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindsetLead in the best interest of the whole organization
5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behaviorDemonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors
6. Celebrate success and key milestonesIgnite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals
7. Break down silos and collaborate effectivelyIdentify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture
8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimumBehave in a direct and transparent manner with peers
9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversityTurn to each other while navigating tough challenges
10. Support one another and have each other’s backsBuild high-trust relationships with one another

Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.

The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders

If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:

  • Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
  • Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
  • Encourages higher levels of performance.
  • Creates a culture of accountability.
  • Improves employee engagement.

Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.

With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.

Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.

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