If you really want to know where you are, you need to pull back—way back. DigitalGlobe has rounded up the most amazing satellite images of the Earth created this year, ranging from a glimpse of the desert cauldron of creativity that is Burning Man to a massive copper mine in the South American country of Chile. These images show the surface of our planet as we’ve shaped it, either through developments like the sprawling Olympic Village in London to the simple fall colors of a second-growth forest in Pennsylvania. They serve as a reminder of the wealth we enjoy—see the yachts floating lazily off Monte Carlo—to the destruction we endure in places like Homs, Syria, which shows up wreathed in the tar-black smoke of a pipeline explosion. It’s an amazing world.
PHOTOS: The Earth as Art: Satellite Images of Our Planet from Orbit