Several methods exist for surveying the dunes and estimate their migration rate. Among methods suitable for the macroscopic scale, the use of the satellite images available on Google Earth is a convenient resource, in particular because of its time series. Some examples of the use of this feature of Google Earth are here proposed.

AC Sparavigna, DISAT, Politecnico di Torino

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Footprints of Brazilian Coastal Dunes

The satellite images of Google Earth show an interesting feature of some coastal dunes of Brazil. They are leaving, during their motion, some “footprints” behind, which are sedimentary patterns. In this manner, it is possible to follow year after year the motion of such dunes.

Here in the follwoing figures the Footprints!

More details in:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Transverse Dunes of Peru

Transverse dunes in Peru

Peruvian Transverse Dunes in the Google Earth Images
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna (Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino), Published in

Abstract: A sand sea where winds create an endlessly moving collection of long dunes, like waves on the surface of water: this is the landscape of transverse dunes that we can see in Peru by means of satellite images of Google Earth. Here we will show some examples of these dune fields. Keywords: Sand dunes, Transverse dunes, Peru, Barchans, Google Earth.

More at:

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Dunes of the Kharga Oasis and the Olympic Stadium of Torino

Thursday, August 15, 2013


"Moving Dunes on the Google Earth"

From Google Earth to Tatooine

On 11 August 2013 I found this article entitled "Star Wars home of Anakin Skywalker threatened by dune" It is told that "Sand dunes migrating over the Tunisian desert are poised to bury a famous Star Wars film set. The buildings of the fictional city Mos Espa featured in The Phantom Menace, "Episode I" of the Jedi saga. Sited on the planet Tatooine, this was the home of the young Anakin Skywalker ... Scientists have used the dwellings as a fixed geographic reference to measure the migration of giant wind-blown crescent-shaped dunes, or barchans. They have published details in the journal Geomorphology." The paper is in press, and you can see it at
BBC continues "Ralph Lorenz, from Johns Hopkins University, ... visited the Mos Espa site in 2009, and noted that part of a nearby set used in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope had already been overrun. Using satellite images of the site, they were able to determine the speed of dune movement, which is approaching the buildings once inhabited by such luminaries as Anakin, his slave owner Watto, and rival podracer Sebulba".
Before these "Dunes on the planet Tatooine", on 4 January 2013 it was published my "Moving Dunes on the Google Earth", as you can find at, where I showed how to use the time series of the Google Earth to estimate the motion of the barchans. I used the barchans in Peru. I have also discussed how to use reference points and adjust the Google images to have a "movie".
It seems that the authors of "Dunes on planet Tatooine: Observation of barchan migration at the Star Wars film set in Tunisia" do not know my "Moving dunes on the Google Earth" because my paper is not cited.
Therefore I cite myself!

And show you a "movie" of the barchan which is threatening Luke Skywalker's home.

Kharga Oasis - Egypt