Watch Google researchers turn millions of Flickr images into time-lapse masterpieces

A team of researchers from Google and The University of Washington have developed a new way of creating time-lapse video – collating millions of photographs published online.

They explain:

We introduce an approach for synthesizing time-lapse videos of popular landmarks from large community photo collections. The approach is completely automated and leverages the vast quantity of photos available online.

First, we cluster 86 million photos into landmarks and popular viewpoints. Then, we sort the photos by date and warp each photo onto a common viewpoint.

Finally, we stabilize the appearance of the sequence to compensate for lighting effects and minimize flicker. Our resulting time-lapses show diverse changes in the world’s most popular sites, like glaciers shrinking, skyscrapers being constructed, and waterfalls changing course.

It’s an incredible new use of the huge corpus of images available online. I’m particularly taken with this GIF – via Prosthetic Knowledge – of construction work being undertaken on the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice:


The researchers promise they’ll release their code and further results of their research soon. In the meantime, you can read their full paper at the link below.

Time-lapse mining from internet photographs [University of Washington via Prosthetic Knowledge]

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