Image: the Dynamic World project

A new dataset from Google shows the features on the surface of the Earth in near real time, the company announced Thursday. The tool, called Dynamic World, uses deep learning and satellite imagery to develop a high-resolution land cover map that shows which bits of land have features like trees, crops, or water.

Land cover maps usually take a long time to produce, and there are big gaps between the time images are taken and when the data is published. They also often don’t have a detailed breakdown of what’s on the ground in a particular area — a city would be classified as “built-up” (a designation for human-altered landscapes) even if there are big sections with parks, for example.

Dynamic World classifies the land cover type for…

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