Google Earth

Google Earth


A computer program called Google Earth creates a three-dimensional image of the planet mostly using satellite imagery. The application allows users to view cities and landscapes from different perspectives by mapping the Earth by superimposing satellite photos, aerial photography, and GIS data onto a three-dimensional globe. With a keyboard or mouse, users can use addresses and coordinates to explore the world. You can also download the program on a tablet or smartphone and navigate with a stylus or touch screen. With Keyhole Markup Language, users can add their own data to the program and upload it through a variety of sources, including blogs and forums. Several types of images can be superimposed on the Earth’s surface using Google Earth.
Through the desktop application, Google Earth offers a number of additional tools in addition to Earth navigation, one of which is a measure distance tool. There are extra globes for the Moon and Mars in addition to a night sky viewing instrument. There’s also a game for a flight simulator. Additional features let users see images from different locations that have been added to Panoramio, details about specific locations from Wikipedia, and Street View imagery. Additionally, Google Earth’s web version has a feature called Voyager that adds in-program tours on a regular basis. These tours are frequently given by scientists and documentarians.
Google Earth has been outlawed in several nations due to concerns raised by some about privacy and national security. Some nations have asked for specific regions—typically those with military installations—to be hidden in Google Earth satellite photos.

Google Earth

What’s the Background of Google Earth?

January 2001: Keyhole established

Keyhole was established in January 2001 by John Hanke, Brian McClendon, and a small group of engineers with the intention of combining “vectors, images, and POIs into a single, seamless dataset to create the ultimate geographic reference platform.” They got it right. Utilizing their expertise in 3D graphics and the internet, the team developed a ground-breaking framework that allows terabytes of data to be delivered inside a 3D planet model.

June 2003: In-Q-Tel invested

EarthViewer in a rapidly successful product from Keyhole. In-Q-Tel, the strategic investment branch of the CIA, announced an investment in the software company in 2003, citing its capacity to “radically enhance critical decision making.” Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, they immediately used it to monitor military operations in Iraq.

October 2004: Keyhole purchased by Google

Google announced its acquisition of Keyhole for an undisclosed sum shortly after In-Q-Tel’s investment. The product’s extensive database of roads, businesses, and points of interest, along with its distinctive 3D interface, prompted the purchase, according to the search giant.

Which Products for Google Earth Were Available at


Following Google’s acquisition of Keyhole, four products were released.

Google Earth: No Cost
a free tool designed for users who simply wanted to look through the images that were kept in the GE database.
$20 for Google Earth Plus
The Plus version allowed users to add their own data, for those with more experience. When the majority of its features were incorporated into the free version, it was discontinued in 2008.
The $400 Google Earth Pro
With advanced features like measurements, data integration, and high-resolution imagery, the pro version was designed for businesses that need to conduct research, collaborate, and present on geospatial data.

Variables in Google Earth Enterprise
A fully tailored solution for big companies whose daily operations depend on geospatial data.

How Was Google Earth Developed?

Release of Google Earth 4 in January 2007

Google Earth V4, the first significant update since the company bought Keyhole, included a number of minor features along with a more streamlined user interface, improved 3D modeling capabilities.

Feb 2009: Google Earth 5 released

Three significant announcements were made with Google Earth 5: enhanced historical imagery visualizations, ocean exploration capabilities, and a new recording feature that let you record and share a “tour” of the program’s locations.

Google Earth

Released in November 2010: Google Earth 6

The business unveiled a number of enhanced and new features with Google Earth 6. The addition of 3D modeling for trees, a more seamless update to their historical imaging, and a more seamless Street View integration were the ones that received the most attention.

Google Earth

Google Earth 7 was launched.

Seventh Google Earth saw the release of new 3D imagery and a tour guide feature that led users through well-known landmarks. This was the last significant update before the company made all editions free.

Google Earth

Growing concerns surround Google Earth Support

The community’s growing concerns are reflected in a post on the Google Earth Blog: since V5, there haven’t been any significant feature updates; additionally, developer support has decreased, marketing efforts have slowed, and user support has decreased. It appears that the company is shifting its attention from Earth to Google Maps.

Free Google Earth

Google revealed that Google Earth Pro would now be free in response to mounting concerns from the Google Earth user community. Although more people had access to the software, this was interpreted by most as a sign that Google would no longer be offering much support.

Google Earth

Enterprise Google Earth deprecated

Shortly after announcing that Google Earth would be made available for free, Google announced the deprecation of Google Earth Enterprise. It was unexpected at the time. “GEE has always been a very niche product, focused on a very important user base, but percentage-wise, a very small one… the adoption rate was much, much lower than what Google likes to see for its products,” said Avnish Bhatnagar, a GEE engineer, in a 2017 interview.

Google Earth

Open-source Google Earth Enterprise

Following Google Earth Enterprise’s deprecation, the company declared that it would continue to support the software for a further year. Google decided to make the software open source as the end of this period drew near. This was due to the software’s continued interest. They simultaneously launched a major campaign to persuade their GEE clients to host their GEE instance on the Google Cloud Platform.

Google Earth 9 was revealed.

Google made a big splash when it released Google Earth 9, which is named 9 rather than 8 because it is more similar to Google Earth 8 on Android than Google Earth 7 on desktop computers. The primary modification was switching from desktop software to a browser-based application. The majority of devoted Google Earth users expressed dissatisfaction over the version’s removal of many of the features they believed added value to the program.

Google Earth

Which Google Earth Substitute Is the Best?

The response varies depending on your goals. Google Earth 9 is a great tool if all you want to do is view interactive images of the planet. But, you’ll probably need to look for another product if you’re interested in using Google Earth to arrange and examine data in relation to its location.
There are several options available; the optimal choice will rely on your specific goals and the sector you work in. Look into these well-liked choices to get going:
NASA WorldView: Although it has less features for uploading your own data, NASA’s GIS program is more akin to the classic Google Earth program.
Google Earth Pro is similar in many ways to ESRI ArcGIS Earth, a desktop program that you must download and install on your computer.
Cesium: Cesium provides an open-source JavaScript library for making 3D maps and globes that might be helpful if you are an expert software developer.


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