How often does Google update the imagery in Google Earth?

This is a question that we get asked a lot, so hopefully this post will help clear things up.
The short answer is that Google usually updates imagery twice a month, typically around the 6th and the 20th of each month. We highlight all of those updates on the site as soon as we’re aware of them, like the one we recently covered on September 21.
Each update covers a very small portion of the globe. For example, the United States might seen 4-6 cities updated, or perhaps a single state, and other countries receive similar minor updates. As part of each update, Google releases a KML file that shows all of the updated areas with red outlines, like this:

updated-areas.jpg

As a general rule, Google tries to keep every area updated to within around three years old, but that’s not always possible. However, if your area is more than three years old, it’s likely that Google is working on updating it soon.
That being said, we have no idea which areas will be updated next. We get a lot of specific questions such as “when will the imagery in Spokane, Washington be updated again?”. I promise you, we have no idea. The exception to that is when there is a major disaster, such as the earthquake in Haiti or the wildfires in Boulder, Colorado. During and after an event like that, Google posts fresh imagery as quickly as they possibly can to assist in providing useful information to emergency workers and concerned residents of the affected areas.
Lastly, don’t forget about the historical imagery. We recently showed you how the historical imagery is often fresher than the default imagery, so if you want to see the newest imagery of a particular location, the historical imagery tool might be your answer.
If you’re curious about the process used to capture and present the imagery in Google Earth, this detailed post that Frank wrote last year will be very helpful for you.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.



Comments

  1. They also try to update countries which are going to host some sport or any kind of big events in the near future. While it’s still not the whole country one can be sure that the cities hosting events would be updated.

  2. A KML automatically arrives in my Places panel with all the latest imagery updates, and I think this is the service offered in the Google Earth Gallery http://www.google.com/gadgets/directory?synd=earth&cat=featured
    Earlier updates can also be retained in Places.
    The imagery in an outlined area is often quite varied. Sometimes there is a precise tie up with a uniform patch of new high res, but sometimes to a patchwork presumably from separate sources, new but not necessarily of the same date (?) More background info from Google would be helpful.

  3. PaSKud — Great point about major events! They certainly update imagery (and often Street View as well) before major events such as the Olympics and the World Cup.

  4. and there are parts that does not have high resolution imagery what so ever, when some other parts might get updated twice in a single year.
    and some parts are left with the first update of the high resolution imagery which, of course, has become 8-9 years old now.

  5. Davin Peterson says:

    I’m pleased to see that my church’s building that was built in 2007 finally shows up on Google Maps and Google Earth. The last time I checked, all I saw was a piece of land where the church now stands.

  6. In the Northern Alberta City of Grand Prairie, the images are 6 to 7 years old. This is a very fast growing City, with several dozen new neighborhoods not visible. Street View however, has images throughout these “nonexistant” areas of town.

  7. New imagery in Venezuela:
    -Sur de Barcelona, Anzoatequi
    -Oeste de Upata, Bolivar
    -Cumanacoa, Succre

  8. Some of the images I have viewed are very old. For example I’ve been at our house for 4 years and it shows other cars in the driveway and yard looks somewhat different.

  9. Please update the area of Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where mudslides buried 800 people and changed the look of the town forever.

  10. The Outer Banks needs updating. It’s been around four years.

  11. The Minot, ND area needs to be updated. The images are 4 years old.

  12. I live in Bradford, Ontario, Canada. 2004 is the latest image year they have of the area. Toronto’s latest image year is 2003, which is close to where I live. I’d like to know the reason why it’s taking so long for them to update some of these areas.

  13. Nevermind. Made a mistake. Latest image date I see for Bradford and Toronto is 2009.

  14. Steven Crosslin says:

    So would it be fair to say that depending on what is going on around the United States and within each state, i.e. disasters, major construction etc.. those areas may get updated more so than others?

  15. There is a group of us who were wondering if the Kenai Peninsula, Homer AK will ever be updated? It was 2003 the last time. It isn’t a disaaster area but it would be nice to keep current.

  16. nd across from Homer, the Halibut Bay date shows 1996. Is that 3-year rule a bit of hit-and-mis?

  17. Adrian Tyrrell says:

    A disappointing response as my area of the SW of the UK hasn’t been updated for around 4 1/2 years and Google earth is now so out of date it seriously limits the usefulness and credibility of it as anything other than an educational application.
    Since the original images were taken there has been a new supermarket built, several new major roads and numerous new buildings so Google Earth now “misrepresents” the town & area i live in and certainly cant be used for anything serious.
    Shame, i loved it when it first came out!

    • I agree, I moved to the East Midlands in 1998, I have just searched my house and it still shows images of the hire car we had when we moved up here. We only had that car for 3 months lol. The village next to us (15min walk away) has had more recent updates, about 5 years i’m guessing, coz that is how long the new supermarket has been there, There is 3 new supermarkets that have opened. I Don’t see the point in this app anymore, It doesn’t serve any real purpose anymore.

  18. Cameron Murning says:

    Scotland (especially fife) need to be updated the images there are almost 12 years old :(

  19. Gosh, the map of Google Earth of my place was nearly 6 years ago!
    How could there be no updates when I’m using Google Earth 6?
    I’m living in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.

  20. Could the southern coast part of mainland Papua New Guinea be updated? The imagery is never clear.
    It would be of great help in updating this area of the map to aid in defining exploration boundaries.
    Thank you.

  21. Eden village housing estate, Sittingbourne, Kent, United Kingdom has not been updated in a few years. The estate has been complete for a couple of months now but the image only shows it half completed and incorrect data is supplied. I have reported this to lots of places, got a response saying they’ve checked it out and resolved the issue, when they haven’t. Please can you update it. :-)

  22. I live in Bendigo Australia, and when I look at the image date is says 2/9/2007.
    Do you have any idea why this image is so old and when it will be updated?

  23. The image from Cleveland Ohio is fromSaturday April 7th 2012 in the afternoon. I know this because of the local construction, the fact that there is a baseball game at progressive field with the opening day banners on the field. Because there are few cars in the parking lots around the Cleveland Clinic it’s a weekend but not many near churches but some near some banks it makes it a Saturday. Because there are players on the field but some shadows it probably between 1 and 3 pm. Probably closer to 1 based on how many people are still in the stands at the baseball game. That was fun!

  24. Wayne Sadler says:

    Why is the imagery for Spaulding Co. Ga. so old? The imagery date is 2008 with the historical date of 2009? Thanks in advance

  25. John Gacesa says:

    I built a new home in the fall of 2003 and it still doesn’t exists. I live in a suburb of Harrisburg, PA.(Hummelstown)

  26. Hello
    I love going into google map, the only thing I noticed that I have been about 5 years ago to Cape Verde(Sal)but your map has not been updated so far, I have recently been there & there’s alot of improvement in that place, can someone please look into this, its an upcoming hotspot for tourists.
    Regards
    Frank

  27. Tristan Nathaniel says:

    When is Antigua and Barbuda going to be updated. The landscape and housing has dramatically changed. Places where you have empty plots, structures have been erected. Also people who use geo-tagging, can these pictures of places be used to update google earth?

  28. The image for the area where I live was updated last on 09/16/2005. Is there somewhere I can email to request an updated image?
    Thanks,
    Bob

  29. Would love to see Penticton, B.C. updated. It has been at least seven years.

  30. I don’t know when the last time my area was updated, I look at my address and there’s 3 vehicles that I owned, but not at the same time. I find that really hard to believe.

  31. I’d like to see the Peloponnese in Greece updated as there has been so much new road development and facilities there

  32. Can the area’s around the controversial Tar Sand Pipeline (Transcanada Keystone XL Pipeline) from Canada to Texas?

  33. Ilove this website its totally awesome I live in Brockington, Saskatchewan,Canada can u guys and women who work there update my area it hasnt been updated for quite a while I really hope that someone reads this lol thnx for your time !

  34. WHen will you update the images of the Jersy Shore?

  35. Will you update the images of the Jersy Shore? As you stated up above “The exception to that is when there is a major disaster, such as the earthquake in Haiti or the wildfires in Boulder, Colorado” and there has been a disaster in NY and in NJ. So please update the images.

  36. Please post real time photos of the NJ Shore Coast Line. The Navy, Coast Guard and police are stopping people from getting onto the Barrier Islands to check their homes. It may be weeks before we’re allowed back on. Any updated photos to check our homes would be appreciated. The NOAA satellite images are okay but we would like to get a bit closer to view… THANK YOU~!

  37. Dear Sir,
    My village name is Patvihir in Taluka Kalvan Dist Nashik Maharashtra has last updated in 16 June 2009, It will be a great help if the area is updated now.
    DT Bhoye

  38. Volcan, Chiriquí, Panama is dated December 31, 1969, FORTY YEARS OLD a very low resolution photo also. Go up the road a few kilometer and Paso Ancho is dated 2002, more than Ten Years Old. Lots of Americans, Canadians and Europeans live in this area.

  39. caroline bong says:

    Since 2001, I’ve never seen a single update by Google to their images of Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia. The present image shown is still those 2001 and is therefore misleading to people outside our state. I considered Google satelite map as woes than useless.

  40. I know for fact my area is at least 8 months old.

  41. The area i live in hasnt changed on google earth i work in a building that was knocked down 4 years ago but its still on google earth as being there

  42. Boise hasn’t been updated since 2007-2008. My house was done in July of 2008 and downtown was July of 2007. I notice some cities getting updated constantly.

  43. Mozambique is still a third world country. However, beautiful coastines, but between Maputo and towns thereafter, there haven’t been any upgrades for over 7 years. Roads that are now tarred show up as non driveable sand roads, which makes it very difficult to plan vacations on this route. Maybe just one upgrade every 7 years would be very welcome.

  44. Here in Buckinghamshire in England, my area is now over 10 years old in the map view.
    Googlemaps is effectively useless with such a slow update procedure.
    The streetview is only about 4 or 5 years old, so that’s not so bad. But ofourse it doesn’t marry up to streetview, rendering it pointless.
    It’s a shame, since it could potentially be a wonderful resource if implemented properly…
    Strange how Google have let it slip in this way.

    • Martin Johnson says:

      Interestingly enough Apple Maps has very up to date aerial maps of the UK.
      Funny that.

    • archangelmichael2 says:

      Google cares more about spying on people and cooperating with big brother government which both Google and big brother strangely enough are going thru big scandals. Not that it’s new news as most of us survivalists who are not asleep at the wheel have seen the writing in the wall since the 80s.

  45. They should really update Sydney AUS now. It’s still 1/1/09. Any news on that?

  46. i just really wanna know how often does the street view update and i cant get that info anywhere

  47. BS. The Google Earth pic of our Italian property was taken at least before May 2008, when its appearance changed radically (like the addition of a pool).
    Incidentally, is this the same Google that penalises you if you don’t keep your website up-to-date ?

  48. archangelmichael2 says:

    Not often enough to be useful for anything! LOL

  49. I call BS. My car I sold almost 2 years ago is still in my yard according to google maps…

  50. I would like to see them change it up at least once per season.. Ilike checking out my Missouri hunting area and water level of area lakes and ponds

  51. They haven’t updated Kawerau, in New Zealand, since 2/2002 (12 years ago), what’s the point of using Google Earth if the imagery is so out of date?

  52. cameron says:

    Why hasn’t the maps for Louisville, Ms been updated since it has been declared a major disaster area?!

  53. deirdre says:

    Sicamous, B.C. is known as the “Houseboat Capital of Canada” and is a summer destination spot but Google Earth is dated 2004.
    It’s embarrassing to list our condo for rent when all anyone can see in the imagery is a swamp!

  54. Come on Google, get your act together. It would seem you are supporting your competitor !

  55. theodore athans says:

    IMAGE OF 117 HENLEY BEACH ROAD MILE END SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5031 IS 5 YEARS OLD PLEASE HELP, THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. We’ll the image of my house and my parents house is about 10 years old

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