One regular dose of Earth from above
Monaco is a sovereign city-state on the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea. With an area of 0.81 square miles (2.1 square kilometers), it is the second smallest country in the world, after Vatican City. This Overview features Port Hercules, the nation’s only deep-water port, as well as the Monte Carlo Casino and the Circuit de Monaco, the street course used for the annual Monaco Grand Prix Formula One race.
Cars wind down the hill of Lombard Street in San Francisco, California. With eight hairpin turns dispersed over a one-block section in the Russian Hill neighborhood, Lombard is often referred to as “the most crooked street in the world.” It is a major tourist attraction, receiving as many as 17,000 visitors per day on busy summer weekends.
Medina is the fourth-most populous city in Saudi Arabia, with nearly 1.5 million inhabitants. First settled in the 9th century BC, it is generally considered to be the "cradle” of Islamic culture and civilization and the second-holiest city in Islamic tradition, after Mecca. This Overview shows the city and a series of ring roads surrounding the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, a mosque and burial site of the last Islamic prophet, Muhammad.
Lake Urmia is an endorheic salt lake in northwestern Iran. It was once the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth with a surface area of 2,000 square miles (5,200 square km), but by 2017 had shrunk to 10% of its original size due to drought and damming of inflow rivers. The lake’s red-orange color comes from a high concentration of halophiles, or “salt-loving” bacteria and algae, which have pigments ranging from pink to deep red.
The Hague is a city in the Netherlands, located on the coast of the North Sea. Known as the home of international law and arbitration, it hosts the International Court of Justice, the main judicial arm of the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, Europol, and upwards of 200 other international governmental organizations. The Hague urban area is home to over half a million people, making it the third largest city in the nation.
Bright blue swirls of sea floor can be seen through the shallow waters offshore Vilankulo, Mozambique. These interesting patterns were formed by the Save River, which used to drain into the ocean nearby but has since changed its course. Home to about 25,000 people, the coastal town of Vilankulo is surrounded by numerous round lakes, which are also remnants of the river’s former path.
Baltimore is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland, with nearly 600,000 people living in its urban area. Established in 1729 and used as a major port since 1706, Baltimore has over 65,000 buildings in the National Register of Historic Places — more than any other city in the nation. This Overview features both of the city’s professional sports stadiums: Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens.
Waves of the Pacific Ocean roll into Antofagasta, Chile. Since the city is situated in the Atacama Desert — the driest region in the world — it has incredibly sparse vegetation. In total, Antofagasta is home to nearly 400,000 residents and is the third largest city in the country.
Check out this incredible rock formation we found in the Sahara Desert, near the town of Reggane, Algeria. The climate in this region is torrid and almost rainless, with an average annual rainfall of less than 0.4 inches (10 mm). In the summer, daytime temperatures are known to consistently reach 122°F (50°C), earning this area its nickname — the “triangle of fire.”
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, with an estimated 2.7 million people living in its metropolitan area. Founded in the 7th century during the Romanesque period and flourishing throughout the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, the city is a rich cultural hub of central Europe. This Overview shows the Vltava River winding through Prague’s city center.
Sand dredging boats gather on Poyang Lake in China’s Jiangxi Province, one of the world’s busiest dredging sites. On an average day here, hundreds of vessels can collect upwards of 10,000 tonnes of sand per hour, much of which is used in land reclamation projects. Poyang is China’s largest lake, but it is losing water fast — its outflow channels have been carved deeper and wider by dredging. This Overview is featured in our newest story ‘Dredging Up Problems,’ which takes a look at land reclamation and it’s impact on our environment.Read the full story →
Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. It straddles the North Saskatchewan River and serves as a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects in the northern part of the province, as well as large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories. Edmonton is home to about 1.1 million people — the northernmost city on the continent with a population over one million.
The Jwaneng Diamond Mine in Botswana is the richest diamond mine in the world, with an annual output of as much as 15.6 million carats. Mine richness takes into account the rate of diamond extraction combined with quality of the diamonds that are mined, by sale price per weight. To extract the diamonds, the facility produces 9.3 million tons of ore and an additional 37 million tons of waste rock per year.
Helsinki is the capital and most populous city of Finland, with a population of slightly more than 650,000. Located on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the country's center of politics, education, finance, culture and research. Helsinki has one of the world's highest standards of urban living, and the United Nations “World Happiness Report” has named Finland the Happiest Country in the World for the five consecutive years.
Since many cities in the state of Florida contain master-planned communities, often built on top of waterways in the latter half of the twentieth century, a number of intricate designs are visible from the Overview perspective. Here is one particular development in Cape Coral, a city with a population of more than 190,000 people. Cape Coral is the largest city between Tampa and Miami and has more than 400 miles (640 km) of navigable waterways.
Mar del Plata is a city in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. With more than 600,000 residents and several million visitors per year, it is the largest seaside resort city in Argentina and also one of the country’s major fishing ports. The city is host to a mix of architectural styles, including picturesque, art deco and the vernacular Mar del Plata Style — chalets with stone facades, gable roofs of Spanish or French tile, prominent eaves and front porches.
The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will be the world’s largest wildlife overpass when it’s completed around 2025. Constructed across the Ventura Freeway near Los Angeles, California, the 200-foot-long (61-meter), 165-foot-wide (50-meter) corridor will provide safe crossing for mountain lions and other animals, using vegetation and walls to block light and noise from vehicles. Construction broke ground on Earth Day of this year and this rendering uses satellite imagery to show the planned, finished look of the corridor.
Barranquilla is a city in northern Colombia, located on the Caribbean Sea next to the Magdalena River. With had a population of about 2.2 million, it is Colombia's fourth-most populous city after Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. This Overview also shows the city of Soledad, which borders Barranquilla to the south and is part of its metropolitan area.
Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, also known as Sea–Tac, is the primary commercial airport serving the metropolitan area of Seattle, Washington. It is the 9th busiest airport in the United States, serving more than 50 million passengers in 2019. This Overview shows the airport’s central terminal, which contains most of its 103 gates.
Volcanic craters cover the landscape in Harrat Khaybar, a lava field in Saudi Arabia. Formed by a series of eruptions over 5 million years, the Harrat covers an area of more than 4,600 square miles (12,000 square km). In the bottom right of this Overview is White Mountain, a geological rarity which gets its pale color from a huge volcanic explosion that emitted gases and white ash containing silicon.