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 services/programs.
Google Earth allows you to explore the world with the tip of your fingers. It’s like having a virtual tour of places you want to visit. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic about seeing your hometown or want to explore where to travel next, Google Earth puts the whole world in your hands.
How Does Google Earth Collect Images?
The images you see on Google Earth get collected over time from providers and platforms. You can see shots in street view, aerial, and 3D. However, these images are not real-time, so it is impossible to see live changes.
Some images show a single acquisition date, while others display a range of dates taken over days or months. Suppose you want more information about when an image got created. In that case, it is best to contact the original provider, as Google is unable to give you more information about the images it displays.
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 every month. In fact, the average map data is between one and three years old. This duration range is understandable given how many photos are required to create Google Earth. There are only so many satellites taking pictures 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 on your hometown, don’t assume it will appear in Google’s subsequent changes. Google does not update the entire map in each go. Instead, they update pieces of the map. 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, letting everyone know what got changed and what’s still waiting for a refresher.
Given the intense effort required to systematically catalog and piece together all the images needed for Google Earth, it’s no wonder it takes years to update. While this situation is inconvenient, it is understandable. After all, the Earth is a prominent place.
Google Earth FAQs
Why doesn’t Google Earth Update Continuously?
As previously mentioned, Google Earth combines satellite images and aerial photographs. Both take time to obtain and implement, and aerial photos are relatively expensive. Google would have to constantly hire pilots traversing the globe to keep up with potential changes.
Instead, Google opts for a compromise. They strive to keep each area of the globe within three years. Although, they are likely to target high-density population areas more frequently. So if your town had an update last year, and you’re still waiting to see the new stadium built in the past six months, you might be waiting a while.
Will Google Earth update imagery upon request?
Unless you’re a governing body that has compiled a package of aerial images to share with Google, they are unlikely to heed a request for an update. Google has a system for keeping the images as current as reasonably possible. If they entertained every request, their schedule would crumble. If you’re disappointed with your Google Earth view and are hungry for more up-to-date data, there may be more available, and you’re just not looking at it.
This thought may sound strange, but check “historical” imagery to catch more recent shots. Google doesn’t always put the most up-to-date imagery in the app. Sometimes they use slightly older images and set the up-to-date ones 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 photos of the city from before the disaster. These images were more “accurate” since the area started rebuilding.