What can change in just over three decades? Well, when it comes to Dubai, a whole lot.

Just 34 years ago, the population of Dubai hovered around 350,000 people. Today it has jumped to just over three million, Forbes reported.

All the iconic buildings, the picturesque skyline and the top tourist attractions were little more than piles of sand three decades ago. But with visionary leadership and the combined effort of hardworking residents, the emirate has completely transformed into a global hub for business, entrepreneurship, creativity and tourism.

Showing how truly drastic the transformation is, NASA released satellite imagery of Dubai. Combined together, the images reveal how the city changed from 1984 until 2017. 

The development is incredibly impressive

The emirate's ambitious and rapid growth can be largely credited to the visionary leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the ruler of Dubai and the prime minister and vice president of the UAE.

"The job of governments is to create the environment in which can achieve their happiness. Yes, the government's job is to achieve happiness," Sheikh Mohammed once wisely said, revealing one of the major motivators behind his efforts to constantly improve Dubai.

Speaking of his vision for the city, Sheikh Mohammed also once said: "This is Dubai and this is our beloved UAE; it will remain the focus of the world's attention; it will continue, under its wise leadership and innovative citizens, to be a hub for business and finance; a center for culture and humanitarian work."

Here are some other photos that show just how far Dubai has come.

18 years ago in 2000 ... compared to the present

The Burj Khalifa wasn't even completed until 2010

1990 vs. 2017

With even more ambitious plans for the future, how do you imagine things will change in the next 34 years?