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.
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.
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.
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.