Haven't you grown... watch how Gulf cities shot up over 30 years


Google timelapse technology shows huge expansion of cities including Dubai and Doha over last decades

Dubai, the construction capital of the Gulf (AFP)
MEE staff's picture
Last update: 
Wednesday 30 November 2016 16:50 UTC

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."