Sand mixes with snow in the Oleshky Sands, a semi-arid desert of southern Ukraine. This 62-square-mile (161-square-kilometer) region contains sand dunes as tall as 16 feet (5 meters) and is the second-largest desert in Europe. The origin of Oleshky Sands is uncertain — one theory says it is a dried riverbed of the Dnieper River; another points to over-grazing by millions of sheep pastured in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey with roughly 15.5 million residents. As seen in this Overview, it is a transcontinental city - straddling both sides of the Bosporus Strait between Europe and Asia. Istanbul’s strategic position between the Black and Mediterranean Seas has made the city a gateway for the spread of people, goods, and ideas throughout its history.
This breathtaking Overview captures the city of San Francisco, California and the surrounding 'Bay Area' like you've never seen it before! DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 satellite was a remarkable 800 miles away over the Pacific Ocean when this image was captured. The focal length of the satellite camera is 32 times longer than a standard DSLR camera, making a view like this possible. Within the frame, many of the city's landmarks are visible, including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, and Golden Gate Park.
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake on the California-Nevada border in the USA. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range with a surface elevation of 6,225 feet, it is the largest alpine lake in North America and trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest lake by volume in the United States. Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction and a destination for winter sports and summer outdoor recreation.
Amazing layered rock patterns are visible on the Adrar Plateau, near the town of Atar in northwestern Mauritania. Located within the Sahara Desert, the Adrar is an arid plateau known for its gorges, stony deserts and sand dunes. Cave and rock paintings show that this region was settled in the Neolithic era about 12,000 years ago — today, around 62,000 people live in the Adrar Region.
Sea ice breaks apart in various block sizes roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the coast of Antarctica. Antarctic sea ice extends far north in the winter and retreats almost to the coastline every summer. In the 1980s, Antarctica lost 40 billion tons (36.3 billion metric tons) of ice every year. In the last decade, that figure was estimated at a staggering 252 billion tons (229 billion metric tons) per year.
Luxury resorts line the coast of the Caspian Sea in Awaza, Turkmenistan. Located about 7.5 miles (12 km) west of the city of Turkmenbashi, this special tourist zone constructed its first hotel in 2004 and now has at least 22 hotels and resorts. Due to its remote location and ultra-modern architecture, Awaza has been called the “least-known and most peculiar beach resort in the world.”
Residential developments cover the landscape in Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. Because many cities in the state contain master-planned communities, often built on top of waterways in the latter half of the twentieth century, there are a number of intricate designs that are visible from the Overview perspective. Boynton Beach is home to roughly 78,000 residents.
In Rio Grande do Norte, on Brazil’s northeastern tip, a vast rainforest has been diminished to small patches to make way for agricultural land. The Atlantic Rainforest — or Mata Atlântica — used to stretch from this region into southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, but less than 10% of it remains today. Although Rio Grande do Norte is the fifth-smallest Brazilian state by land area, it supplies 70% of the nation’s melons and is famed for its mango and cashew fields.
Samarkand is the second most populous city in Uzbekistan and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. It is home to upwards of 500,000 people and has shown evidence of human activity since the late Paleolithic Era. This Overview shows the southeastern side of the city, with its traditional mud-brick Uzbek houses built around central courtyards and gardens.
Behesht-e-Zahra is the largest cemetery in Iran, with more than 1.6 million graves. Located in the southern part of metropolitan Tehran, the cemetery has been rapidly expanding in recent weeks to meet the need for Coronavirus-related deaths — burying roughly 350 dead every day. Schools, mosques and shops are closed throughout Iran, and a curfew of 6:00 pm has been imposed to combat COVID-19, which state officials say is killing one Iranian every four minutes.
Seattle is the most populous city in the state of Washington, with a population of roughly 750,000. Situated on an isthmus between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, the city is a major gateway for trade with Asia. This Overview shows several neighborhoods north of the city center, including Eastlake, Portage Bay, Montlake and others.
This Overview shows the Longview Softwood lumber milling facility, located on the Oregon-Washington border in Longview, Washington. Felled trees arrive at this facility by boat and are then stacked in huge piles like these and taken by forklift into the mill. Producing 7.7 million square feet (720,000 square meters) of processed lumber every year, the facility maintains the highest capacity of any sawmill in the United States.
Arvaikheer is a town in central Mongolia, nestled against the hills of the Khangai Mountains. The town’s brightly colored roofs are a hub for nearly 30,000 residents who are known for their traditional crafts, goat herding, and equestrian sports. Arvaikheer, which means “Barley Steppe,” is the most temperate place in Mongolia with only 30 degrees Celsius difference between its average temperatures in January and July.
The Great Green Wall is an anti-desertification initiative underway in Africa’s Sahel region, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. It intends to restore 250 million acres (100 million hectares) of degraded land by 2030 by planting a 5,000-mile (8,000-kilometer) tree line. These Overviews show a section of the wall on the border of Mauritania and Senegal developing between 2018 and 2019. If effective, the Great Green Wall will stop the advancement of the desert, absorb 250 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, and create 350,000 rural jobs.
The Tappan Zee Bridge is a twin cable-stayed bridge crossing the Hudson River north of New York City. Construction on this larger-capacity, replacement bridge began in 2013 to handle increased traffic to and from the major metropolitan area. Once the large replacement project was finished in 2017, the old, inactive bridge was demolished. The new bridge has a shared-use path for bicycles and pedestrians and was built with the capacity for a future commuter rail line to be built at a later date. Approximately 140,000 automobiles cross the bridge every day.
Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, but it does not naturally occur as a metal. The first step in producing aluminum is mining its ore—bauxite. The Paragominas Bauxite Mine in Brazil, seen here, produces more than 5 million tons (4.5 million metric tons) of bauxite every year, and represents one of the largest reserves of the material in the country.
In this Overview, the San Juan River is shown meandering through southeastern Utah, not far from Goosenecks State Park. It is a major tributary of the Colorado River and provides drainage to the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The San Juan is one of the muddiest rivers in North America, carrying an average of 25 million U.S. tons of silt and sediment each year.
Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, with more than 25 million residents in its metropolitan area. Strategically situated on the Han River, Seoul’s history can be traced back more than 2,000 years to 18 BC, when it was founded by members of the Baekje Kingdom. In recent years, the city has experienced massive economic growth and is one of the top 10 wealthiest cities in the world with a GDP of nearly $900 billion (USD).
Chicago, Illinois, is the third most populous city in the United States, with about 2.7 million residents. This Overview shows the Chicago River flowing through the city center, dividing The Loop (left) and Near North Side (right) communities. Many of the city’s notable skyscrapers can be seen from this perspective, including the Crain Communications Building, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Tribune Tower.