Google timelapse technology shows huge expansion of cities including Dubai and Doha over last decades
Thirty years ago they were barely specks on the map. But thanks to a huge construction explosion across the Gulf, cities including Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have grown into futuristic metropolises full of soaring towers and artifical islands.
Now, thanks to a new application from Google, the lightning speed development of these - and other cities across the world - can be viewed through timelapse technology.
Dubai shows the most change, growing from a few pockets of development in the 1980s to a sprawling, modern city older residents now hardly recognise.
The sleepy fishing settlement of yesteryear has exploded into a port city of steel, glass and artificial islands, most famously the Palm:
Another UAE Emirate, Abu Dhabi, also underwent a similar transformation:
Doha in Qatar, possibly as a result of inter-Gulf rivalry, also underwent rapid expansion, also building artificial islands and a huge financial sector off the back of an oil boom. The city boomed from a population of 80,000 people in 1970 to as many as 1.5 million in 2016:
According to Google, the timelapse is made from "33 cloud-free annual mosaics, one for each year from 1984 to 2016" which are made "interactively explorable by Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab's Time Machine library, a technology for creating and viewing zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time."