Satellite Image Shows Saudi’s sci-fi megacity ‘The Line’ construction progress

Work on Saudi Arabia’s incredible new megacity ‘The Line’ is going full steam ahead. New satellite photos have shown how much territory the project has covered, the length of the city, and the structure of its building site, even though development only started in October. Saudi Arabia says The Line will be completed in 2030, although construction began this autumn.

Satellite images show excavation equipment (red dots), mounds of dirt (purple), the footprint of The Line (yellow) and the main construction camp (blue dots, pink, and green) Screenshot: Urban on Soar.

MIT’s Technology Review reviewed satellite images of The Line’s construction site from an Australian company called Soar, with a photo of the main base camp having been taken by a satellite from Chang Guang Satellite Technology Corporation on October 22, 2022. This main base camp is located at 28.10 degrees latitude and 35.30 degrees longitude on the eastern side of the Saudi Arabian peninsula, but Soar user Urban uploaded several images of construction occurring all along the length of the Line.

Screenshot: Urban on Soar

According to Soar’s scale bar, the footprint of The Line, which is around 200 feet (60 meters) wide, can be seen being dug into the desert sand in the color-coded rendition of the base camp. With an estimated 1.7 million cubic meters of rock and sand being excavated at this site alone, red dots show that at least 425 excavation vehicles are at work defining the future city’s footprint. Urban’s illustration also depicts several elements of the construction site, such as a major construction camp in pink that serves as housing for employees and solar panel arrays in green.

Another image shows construction in the city’s western site, which is located at approximately 28.15 degrees latitude and 34.68 degrees longitude. The image was taken on September 10, 2022 using a satellite from Singapore’s Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company, and shows 103 excavation vehicles with an estimated 0.7 million cubic meters of earth having been excavated from this particular portion of The Line. Urban also uploaded a status update with an image taken on November 18 that compares the area that has been excavated thus far to the planned area.

The Line began construction in earnest in October, but Urban’s photos make it very evident that work had already begun for at least a month. The megalopolis will have a mirrored facade and be 105 miles (170 kilometers) long, 218 yards (200 meters) wide, and 546 yards (500 meters) tall. It will be entirely self-contained. Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince, suggested in a press release for Neom that the construction would be finished around 2030.

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