How Often Does Google Earth Update?

Google Earth is the three-dimensional planetary browser that shows our entire planet (well, minus a few top-secret military bases) in satellite imagery and aerial photos. It should not be confused with Google Maps, as these are two separate software.

How Often Does Google Earth Update?

Google Earth allows you to explore the world right at the tip of your fingers, at your own comfort. It’s like having a virtual tour of places you want to visit; whether you’re feeling nostalgic about seeing your hometown or simply wanted to explore where you want to travel next, Google Earth can get the whole world in your hands.

How Does Google Earth Collect Images?

The images you see on Google Earth are collected over time from providers and platforms. You can see images in street view, aerial and 3D. However, these images are not in real time, so it is not possible to see live changes.

Some images show a single acquisition date, while some show a range of dates taken over days or months. If you are looking to find more information about when the image was collected, it is best to contact the original image providers as Google is not able to provide more information about the images aside from what it currently shows.

How Often Does Google Earth Update?

According to the Google Earth blog, Google Earth updates about once a month. However, this doesn’t mean that every image is updated once a month – far from it. In fact, the average map data is between one and three years old. Given how many images are required to create Google Earth, this is understandable. There are only so many satellites taking photos in space, among other places, that Google can use for this project.

What Does Google Earth Update?

Ah, there’s the rub. If you’re anxiously awaiting an update to your hometown, don’t assume it will come around in Google’s next set of changes. Google does not update the entire map in each go.  Instead, they update pieces of the map. When we say pieces, we mean small pieces. A single Google Earth update might contain a handful of cities or states. When Google releases an update, they also release a KLM file that outlines the updated regions in red, thereby letting everyone know what’s been changed and what’s still waiting on a refresher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t Google Earth Update Continuously?

As we’ve already mentioned, Google Earth uses a combination of satellite images and aerial photographs. Both of these take time and aerial photographs in particular are expensive to acquire. Google would have to have hired pilots traversing the globe all of the time to keep up with potential changes.

Instead, Google opts for a compromise. They strive to keep each area of the globe within 3 years of age. Although, they are likely to target high-density population areas more frequently. So if you’re town had an update last year and you’re still waiting to see the new stadium that was built in the past 6 months, you might be waiting a while.

Google Earth

Will Google Earth update imagery upon request?

Unless you’re a governing body of some kind that has compiled its own package of aerial images to share with Google, they are unlikely to heed a request for an update. Google has a system in place for keeping the images as current as reasonably possible. If they entertained every request, they’re schedule would crumble. That being said, if you’re disappointed with your Google Earth view and are hungry for more up to date data, it’s possible there is more up to date data available and you’re just not looking at it.

This may sound strange, but check “historical” imagery to catch some more recent shots. Google doesn’t always put the most up to date imagery in the main part of the app. Sometimes they put slightly older images in the main part and put the up-to-date images in historical imagery. Sometimes slightly older images are considered more accurate as in the case of post-Katrina New Orleans. Google had updated the city right after the disaster. They later restored images of the city from before the disaster. These images were considered more “accurate” as the city had since started rebuilding and the devastation shown just after the floods was actually a less useful depiction than prior images. Of course, Google changed the images back after some backlash, but their principle stands. Always check historical images for something more up to date.

Google Earth

Given the incredible effort it takes to systematically catalog and piece together all of the images required for Google Earth, it’s no wonder that it takes years to update locations. While this is inconvenient, it should be considered understandable, the Earth is a big place.

23 thoughts on “How Often Does Google Earth Update?”

Archie Tashjian says:
The image of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London is 3 years old i.e. it shows shortly after work has started! It’s a shame the now-completed image of this magnificent stadium (best football stadium in at least Europe) is not on show. It’s also become the home of NFL this side of the pond.
Mr. B says:
Google earth has a minimum of 3+ years and a max of 5 years on my property. I know this because my ex wife’s vehicle is still in the carport. So it has to be more than 3 years.
JOHN CAMPBELL says:
I’ve been keeping watch to see what my home place looks like via Google Satellite simply because of the changes over the years I’ve made and my place hasn’t been updated in over 4 years. I suppose that might be a good thing at the moment since right now it’s a bit embarrassing with all the junk laying around still from the refurbish, but I’d like to see it anyway.
Satellite image still show the property sometime pre August of 2016. Possibly years before for all I know because I purchased it and moved in back in August of 2016.
Harald Goeritz says:
In the desktop version (google earth pro) there had been an update (02.17.2020) of my region, but my smartphone (android: google earth) shows still the old satellite images (no date postet, assumed about 3 years old). Do you know, why the underlying data is not synchronised or can I do this manually?
Beth says:
Did any of you actually read the article? It is unknown as to when your spot will be updated. Clearly, it may be 11 years or so…hard tellin, folks.
KitKat says:
The article says 1 to 3 years, no 11. DId you read the article
bill says:
1 to 3 years is the average. Did you read the article?
Peter Spence says:
When is New zealand.to be updated . Much of it is 2013 or earlier.
mslissa says:
The images in Curtis Bay Md has not been updated since 2011. Any idea if and or when it might actually be updated?
Melva Griebel says:
Our area in Minnesota hasn’t been updated in 5 years. Is it that hard?
Troy says:
My area has not been updated for 11 years. South Central Utah.
Not sure what the point of Google earth is if it is 11 years and still no update.
Cory Hunt says:
I live in Magazine Arkansas buying property for five years update to the place but no update on Google Earth do you know when you will update Google Earth and Google maps both are wrong
Sharon says:
The last update of our property was in 2012. I did see a vehicle a few months ago in our area. When can we expect another update?
Sarah says:
We live in an area that was burned in the June 2011 Monument Fire and then we were impacted by the monsoon floods the following month. Many changes have happened to the landscape in the last eight years. An update to the imagery would help us in fire and flood mitigation efforts.
Mike says:
Those vehicles are for Google Streetview, not Google Earth, which uses satellites instead.
Chris West says:
Google has more money than they know what to do with. They could easily have satellites launched that would constantly update all imagery in a matter of days. Why they haven’t or won’t do this you ask? Well It’s because it would actually give us knowledge. Not just any information /knowledge but information that Google believes we the public should never ever know about. With the setup they use now, (refreshing imagery ever three years) they have plenty of time to color over the information they feel we’re unfit for.
Nick says:
We cleared 10 acres for our campground and google maps shows 2019 when you zoom in, yet it’s still the 3+ year old image before we began our work when it was just all trees. I also saw a google street view car drive through last year, so I can’t wait to see the update.
* Franklin Keith says:
I sold my boat almost 3 years ago and it still shows up on google earth.
Mike Matheson says:
My old residence in Carmel CA was sold in 2017 and has had a major upgrade
but your image last updated in 2011 when will the image be upgraded to 2019.
David says:
People in Carmel are all a$$holes. You don’t get updates until 2130.
Buck says:
Update Heath, Pataskala, Granville OHIO people.. GO BUCKEYES!!!
Cliford Hanney says:
My hunting cabin in Karnes County TX has been on the property since 2013 but does not show up on any google earth or map view.
Russ says:
9/14/2015 was last update of Advent, WV USA. So I take it we could be ready for an update some day soon?

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