Huge Aerial Database Update for Google Earth Thursday Night!

[21-JUN-2006: The aerial photos are now also available in Google Maps]
Huge database update in Google EarthGoogle made a HUGE update to the Google Earth satellite/aerial photos database late Thursday night June 8th (not yet available in Google Maps aerial database). There are now high resolution satellite photo data strips scattered all over the world where there were previously only lower resolution data. Now you will find strips of high resolution aerial photos for many towns, cities, and even rural areas in countries all over the world including Russia, China, Africa, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean Islands, many islands in the Pacific, Puerto Rico, South America, New Zealand, Australia, etc., etc. Wow! It’s going to take time to absorb just how fantastic this is.
My favorite addition so far is the Caribbean islands – where they even include waters surrounding the islands so you can see sailboats at anchor (as a sailor of those areas it brought tears to my eyes!). The screenshot here is of St. Martin/Siint Maarten (two countries in one). Fly there now (or see it in Google Maps). Also, check out the Arecibo Radio Telescope (Google Maps) in Puerto Rico. Digg it!
A special thanks to ‘Cyclonic’ at the Google Earth Community who alerted me to the update. Cyclonic manages the database of airplanes in flight which often is responsible for discovering new database updates.
Related: Previous major update on April 18th.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. SashDaMan says

    Woah…this…this is truely awesome!

  2. Finally a proper update for Dubai, especially the offshore reclamation projects can been seen nicely

  3. i saw the update this morning, and it also includes my home town (in Vietnam) along with several other cities in Vietnam. however, only half of my home town is in high resolution (the half that my house isnt in):(


  5. Stuart Goldman says

    NOW they update Puerto Rico to show Arecibo better, after my article in Sky & Telescope was published.
    Also, regarding that possible crater in Canada I also mentioned (noted in this blog a while back), someone said elsewhere online that it isn’t a crater, but a geological feature called a daipir. Still waiting for some “official” correspondence about it.

  6. Just noticed the updated aerial imagery of the Carmel/Fishers and Avon areas near Indianapolis — the new imagery was obviously taken during the winter; everything’s covered in snow!!

  7. I don’t know if it’s from this update, or not, but Peru is looking beutiful! I guess this is Google’s answer to Microsoft’s update.

  8. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
    – Much of Israel and Lebanon
    – Most all of Puerto Rico
    – Most of the Caribrean islands
    – Lots of Venezuela
    – Lots more of Mexico
    – Lots of Yemen
    – Lots of the UAE including Dubai (check out the island communities along the coast!)
    – Lots of Iran (including Tehran)
    – Lots of Saudi Arabia (including Ryiad)
    – Huge amounts on the horn of Africa (including Mugdisho)
    – Much of the coast of western Africa
    – I’d estimate about 20% of South America south of Brazil
    – Most of the Marshall Islands
    – Guam and the rest of the Marianna’s Islands
    – Lots more of New Zealand (finally!) and Australia
    – More of India
    – Almost the entire coast from Rangoon, Burma around the India, across the northerm edge of the Indian Ocean into the Persian Gulf.
    – Most of the islands in the central Indian Ocean (including a very cloud covered Diego Garcia)
    – Most large cities in the eastern Indian Ocean archipelago
    – Lots of strips all across Asia.
    – More in both North and South Korea
    – Expanded coverage in Japan (especially extending out from Tokyo)
    – Almost all of the Nile River in Egypt is now covered
    Not new (but I haven’t spent a lot of time looking):
    – Doesn’t seem to be a lot new in North America – (though almost all of S California is there now)
    – Doesn’t seem to be a lot new in Europe

  9. What really irritates me though is that Google Earth doesn’t seem to care about fog and winter conditions. I tried to check out an area in the south-east of Sweden and although the reolution was higher, I couldn’t see a darn thing because of snow and fog. It was better with lower resolution and summer. Well waddya expect from a California company.

  10. There’s a good side-by-side example of the difference, at the shipbreaking yards at Chittagong, Bangladesh. Wow, nice new resolutions. Wish there were a better way to tell the date a picture was taken.

  11. The images for Wellington, New Zealand apppear to be very recent, probably in Jan/Feb of this year. The grass on various sports fields is looks pretty dry and the roadworks associated with a new motorway by-pass are well underway, all of which points to this year.

  12. what happened here ?
    -43 44.679,172 2.19

  13. Is there any further update on the aerial database for Singapore? It still seems to be low resoulution for the whole of Singapore. When is the next update?

  14. Stuart Goldman says

    Arecibo looks very nice, unless you try looking with some perspective. The dish doesn’t look much like a bowl from the side.

  15. So just when were these images taken?
    I looked up Palm Cove, Queensland Australia. The Sea Temple Resort & Spa. (16.45.01 70 S , E ), built 2004, appears as a large area of cleared land.
    Hardly the true meaning of ?updated? when the images are two years old! So how accurate would the premium subscription images be? Rip off, if they?re the same as these!

  16. Eastern Ontario (Ottawa and area) has had a major update. There is a lot more coverage, and already covered areas have been updated (albeit with a cloudy downtown).

  17. Google really needs to keep this updated across both Google Earth and Google Maps. It’s annoying tobe able to see something in Earth but not in Maps.

  18. Excuse, I don’t speak English(
    Russia update
    Moscow (near) – Rockets SS near airport Domodedovo!
    Kazan, Omsk, Igarka, Saransk (near), Samara (near), N.Novgorog, Chelyabinsk (near), Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk (winter)…

  19. now you can see Grozny, Russia, if you can see through clouds though:) and Baikonur Cosmodrome, check out the place, from where the humanity reached the space for the first time!

  20. More @ higher resolution is always better.
    Wonder about the contrast/brightness and color balance of the various new image strips. There are some huge variations.
    Suggest some additional post-processing could be accomplished over the next few months.
    I will post some expanded thoughts on the Keyhole forum.

  21. Fido_le_muet says

    Amazing update!!!
    In addition to Shawn’s list :
    – Three Gorge Dam
    – Update for Hong Kong, Macao, Shenzhen
    – Ghangzhou added!!!
    – Shanghai added !!!
    – All Bahrain!!!
    – Update for major chinese cities excepted Chongqing =(
    – Ta?n
    – Peru (including Machu Pichu)
    – South Africa (including Pretoria, Johannesburg)
    – Cambodia (including Angkor Wat)
    – Update for India (Taj Mahal)
    – Makkah added (including the great mosquee and Kaaba)
    – Madagascar
    – More High Res Area in the US (Indiana, Milwaukee)
    – Also in Canada : Yukon, Ontario, Quebec (Montreal still covered with clouds)
    That’s all I’ve noticed for the moment

  22. I still do not understand something. When I first test-drove the Keyhole data — pre-acquisition, my house was at hjgh resolution. I could see which car was in the drive way and noticed a green/yellow tinge on the blacktop. My wife rememberd the kids writing with chalk in that spot once or twice. That same locale is very low resolution now. I’ll not post my street address here, but my PO Box is public: Lisbon, MD, 21765. Just to the south is very decent.

  23. This is great! Lots and lots of new placemarks in Pakistan!!
    Lahore is now in hi-res, many places around Lahore…
    around Islamabad
    some in Northern Areas
    NWFP (south of Tirich Mir, Chitral down to Saidu Sharif, Swat)
    Lots of places all around Sindh,
    Lots of places around Balochistan and almost the whole Makran coast has been updated…

  24. Yay! They got a high res picture of my town finally. And they also have random strips of high res around Labrador where there are no towns o.o

  25. Konstantin P says

    Some parts of Israel have improved, but the imagery is still sub-par.

  26. Wow, almost every important city in Brazil is there in high resolution. Fine… I love this program. Now I almost can travel from Belo Horizonte to Brasilia, From Brasilia to Uruana (State of Goiᳩ, From Belo Horizonte to Rio by Satellite!!! It’s amazing!

  27. There’s still a section of Toronto, Ontario, Canada in low res… I’m hoping someday they will get a new image for that section!

  28. Ewa Beach, Hawaii!!! At least my house isn’t covered by the huge cloud.. Oahu is really cloud happy.

  29. An area northwest of Pittsburgh has been updated.
    There is a very large railroad yard there.

  30. wow!!! many parts of Mexico now have high resolution, excelent work.

  31. Some European Islands now have relativly high resolution:
    Canary Islands (Spain)
    Crete (Greece)
    Rhodes (Greece)
    Other improvments:
    Geneva expands now out to the outskirts
    Although Germany was updated a month or so ago, several improved high resolution images are now in and around the Frankfurt area.

  32. HAs anyone seen Bagdad? What a mess! Can anyone explain the traffic? The red paint? The areas that have been deleted from the images?
    Very interesting…

  33. looks like russian images for most rural parts of russia – siberia much worse than it used to be and some places masked and so bad that you cannot see anything. but funny part that old marked locations still marks something which now unrecognizable

  34. Also Vietnam now got covered (major cities like Saigon, Hanoi, Hue, Hai Phong. Love the guys at Google for doing this! Thank you.

  35. Well finally a slice of Albania is Uncovered at Google Earth. Although I wish that they would take a high resolution of two and a half cities. One would be Pogradec, two would be Korce and the half city would be right in middle of those cities in which a small town called Zvirine exists. I want to see my house there and then spit at the pitifull inhabitants of it.

  36. Well I actually wonder about something. How up to date are the images? Because some (like Dakar, Senegal) seem VERY outdated.
    Anyway, really cool images of South Africa, Congo, Mali, etc. They really need to add administrative borders soon in Africa. And they should add secondary towns like Timbuktu (Mali), Lubumbashi (Congo) and Saint Louis (Senegal).

  37. Justin Bell says

    Now I can finally see my house \o/
    Pity they haven’t updated the roads yet. Google Maps has excellent road coverage of Wellington NZ (even including my property boundries!), but they still haven’t updated the Google Earth DB with them.

  38. Tjahja Sasangka says

    Wow….thank to google.
    You give a lot of important information to us here in Indonesia, especially who closed to Jogjakarta area that strike by eartquacke last month. But we still waiting your high res image of mounth Merapi (one of the most active volcano in the world, that on the highest alert level for almost 2 month, the longest in recorded history) and surrounding area to give more information/warning to the crowded villager (around 20-25 km from the mountain) about the volcano hazard in the near future (the volcanic activity change a lot the mountain face and direction of the main “lahar” hazard on the next rainy season)
    We are hoping your next update will included those area (You must…..)
    Tjahja S

  39. Machu Picchu is now in Hi Res! Very nice. to fly to Machu Picchu.
    The above link may work but if not, then just go to Machu Picchu, Peru.

  40. Kees den Breejen says

    Amsterdam is getting pretty good, was able to find the windmill “de Otter” but a lot of the Dutch countryside is still low res. Also Northern California foothills area is all still low res. (Yuba County)

  41. Being a lover of the earth what a better affordable way to explore our earth

  42. Wow, amazing features were made to improve not only the appearance of G Earth, but the way to use it. High resolution photos in China are astonishing!!! I can find where I work, even the roof top!

  43. Wow,
    Palau look so diff’r’nt and so beautiful only if it was cloudless….though still awesome.

  44. Ken Pavitt says

    Bournemouth Pier on S Coast of England has an extra ghost image of half of itself in the sea just close by to the East!!

  45. What a wonderful way to, explore the world on my cheap budget.

  46. The high resolution strips are fabulous. One regret though… my town Coimbatore in South India has not made it… but many of the great temples are there, Srirangam, Madurai e.t.c

  47. Joe L. Bettencourt says

    How about the Azores? Nothing there….Seems like the program is pretty worthless unless you are only interested in big cities….. Whenever you want to check out interesting little places, there is nothing available. Good mapping and high resolution pictures is whats needed. I am planning on going to the Azores on vacation this year and wanted to see the layout of each island, but its all hype and no info.

  48. Bruce Fitzsimons says

    The New Zealand imagery appears to have regressed in Google Earth. As little as a month ago I was looking at the apartments at the bottom of Onslow Road in Wellington. Now they’re gone. I think they’ve gone to Wellington City Council images ($$ ?) which are older. The subdivision above me doesn’t even exist yet, but a month ago it showed up.
    (off to check Google Maps now)

  49. Could anyone tell me where to find old satelite photos of China’s Yangzi river? I’m doing a environmental research and in need of old photos for comparison. many thanks!

  50. fantastic way to travel and to know what to expect.can have the greek islands in high resolution?some images are 4-5 years old!!!

  51. Amazing pictures from my homeland Peru. This is what I was waiting for. I am a geologist and Google pictures were before only useful for limited reconaissance. Now my job is much more easier. I can have a much more detailed overview of several places I am reviewing.
    Thanks Google!

  52. Barry Grimes says

    Does anyone know if Google Earth is updated on regularly scheduled basis (i.e. every six month) and if so when it the next update scheduled for.

  53. The picture of where I live in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin still shows the area where my townhome development as being just gravel covered roads. This area hasnt been like that since 2003. We need more updates in the US as well.

  54. cairocoach says

    I love GE, wish I knew when the updates occurred(sp?), anyway, Cairo Egypt updated over recent 6 months… one of the fields surrounding my home has sand instead of agriculture…cheers GE

  55. Jack Bleiberg says

    Need an update for the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia the area is booming and your resolution is really bad

  56. can google update more in philippines?

  57. Does anybody know when the San Francisco Bay area and LA area has last been updated? Or just how old the current pictures are more or less?

  58. Teemu Salo says

    Thanks for the maps! I’m really looking forward to update for Finland and Scandinavia!

  59. If anyone has access to the 1959 map done by George P. Murdock, and knowledge of KMZ, it could be a useful contrast to modern boundaries. It shows the hundreds of natural/tribal boundaries in Africa at that time.

  60. Is the Philippines included in the said update? I know it will cost Google a lot of money to update 100% of the country to high resolution.
    At least try to consider some of the major provinces like Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Bataan.
    These provinces are just a few Kilometers away from the Nation’s Capital (Manila).

  61. I`ll be glad to see Latvia in High Resolusion.

  62. To find out the date of a picture.
    go to
    click on “image library”
    zoom in to the area you want.
    it will come up with a list of photo dates.
    click in the check box to highlight the photo
    and it will show you which photo you selected
    and the date it was taken.

  63. Google Earth is an amazing website because you can see the world in space view and se detailed places in a quick amount of time. I really am surprised on how detailed you are able to see the world. I can also see Italy very detailed and personaly i love looking at Italy because it is where i’m from… is also very good because this website offers differnt languages wich are very helpful if you speak other languages.

  64. Anyone know if its possible to work out when the satellites pass over/ images updated etc? I’d like to createa messageon the ground with a proposal to my girlfriend

  65. I’m addicted to google earth! This blog ain’t too bad either!
    I sail too, and just die when I see all the fine places to go.
    All: check out the crater on Mt. St Helens. New hi-res shot of the region gets you so close you can smell the sulfur–Yikes!

  66. Much of Japan used to be beautifully detailed. Now you can’t even tell the difference between city and countryside. Is there a for pay version that gets you a more consistently high resolution?

  67. M. Faisal Malik says

    google earth realy best site for knowledge and search / view the any city of global world.

  68. M. Niles says

    I know I’m not nuts, but I recall a layer showing the dates of the Google imagery, working much like the ZIP codes layer, where it outlies each section’s borders and tells the dates. Does anyone know where to find this feature, or if it’s documented somewhere as having been removed?

  69. Thank You, tro the team at Google for making it possible to view this Earth in all its glory and wonders.
    I look forward to your updates on the satellite imagery.Cloud formations are obscuring areas of interest.
    Thank You again.
    Best ever.

  70. Naresh Kumar says

    Is there any further update on the aerial database for Haryana (India)? It still seems to be low resoulution for the whole of Haryana (India). When is the next update?

  71. I hope they update the Bahamas, specifically ELEUTHERA. The images are two or three years old – we’ve had several storms in 2005 and it would be interesting to see the coastline changes.

  72. Hi. How often are maps of Africa updated? We would really like to see progress on stadiums being built in South Africa for 2010 Soccer World Cup.

  73. Thanks for the updates of Indonesia.. I appreciate it.. but I want to have more the latest updates for Indonesia.. New international aiport of Juanda in Surabaya is already operated, but not on Google Earth.. so would you mind to updating more new updates for Indonesia?

  74. I cannot see & recive the google earth in my country (IRAN). there isnot a relation between science & politics . Ithink G E is abranch of science & all people can use it . thank you

  75. Jim Carter, Los Angeles, CA says

    I haven’t been on GE for a while, but it seems to have lost a lot of resolution. I live in L.A., where rez has always been high, and I used to be able to see myself standing in my back yard in the image they used. Now I can only tell it’s my house, even, from context. Everything else is fuzzy. I could understand if rez was being sacrificed in Encino to increase it in central Paris or at Machu Picchu. But it’s all fuzzier than before. Are they new selling the old rez and giving us less for free?

  76. since We paid $400 we couldnt find any support from google
    we couldn’t update the google, we didn’t find any contact to complain
    the loading has become slower
    we regret that we paid this money for nothing and we are going to tell every one we know unless you do something.

  77. Hamid H Yousif says

    I found out difference in UTM coordinates (at site) and located from your image more than 70 meters it means we can’t depend on it for profis

  78. Hamid Yousif – you may need to check what map datum the UTM co-ords actually came from. Google is using the WGS datum and if your map is using something different, then then the two sets of co-ords may not match. If you are using a GPS, it is also possible to change settings in GPS from WGS to other mapping datums. One example, Australia moved from AGD 84 to GDA (WGS) mapping grids and the same set of co-ords are now roughly 200 m apart.

  79. How do they have pictures of my tiny little street in no where USA? I am amazed yet some how freaked out.

  80. i am in the philippines pictures are verry old.
    when do we get up dated ?

  81. What is the most accurate UTM datum to use when travelling in Vietnam?

  82. gerry wilson says

    i find GOOGLE EARTH is not up to date. a lot of new buildins have being erected ,in my town of MULLINGAR.CO WESTMEATH .ireland .over the last few years and are not included,WHEN IS NEW UPDATES DUE

  83. When is it anticipated that they will next update google earth? I can see that the picture is from April 27 2005, which is getting a bit old. I am looking to get some shots of my new property.

  84. well i dont know if google earth is updated because i checked my hometown in google earth and it found out that it was the same house,there’s a bunch of houses now in my place and in my neighbor but it didnta appear yet on google earth 4.3 and they say it was updated and they even put 2008..such a liar

  85. 1) Boracay Island is one of the most important tourist spots of our country. It is located NW off Aklan province in the island of Panay, in the central Visayas region of the Philippines. Tourists of different nationalities would appreciate finding their resorts in relation to other places while in Boracay. Pls update its imagery. 2) Also please update the imagery of the nearby cities of Roxas City and Kalibo City. 3) Wouldn’t be able to thank you enough if you did, GE guys.

  86. I stay in Bangalore, India. I was born in a village near kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. the resolution of this place is still not perfect, and it is hazy and blurred even from 1km distance. The co-ordinates of this place is 14°35’33″N 79°18’41″E. I want to know when the map was updated? and if done recently, is it available.

  87. I have seen pictures back in 2007 that were real time pictures and they were onlt there for a while then dissapeared. Why is this and now I look at things that have changed in the last 3 years and still the same view that was there 3 years ago

  88. Seems like a lot of folks are tired of waiting for image updates…
    But why wait? Make your own hi-res imagery. Get an image from a local government agency or fly over your place with a digital camera, then add the image as an overlay. The tools are free in GE, and let you size and position the image very accurately.
    Note: if you do more than use it for yourself — like serve it from your own site as a KML file — you should be sure to have permission to use the image.

  89. Why is google earth 3 years behind in South Africa. When will it be updated. Very disappointed.

  90. I don’t understand why they havn’t done a proper google earth night with high resolution city / street lights that you can zoom in on. That would be very cool and would be much easier to see where urban and rural areas are. In daytime its sometimes hard to tell the difference.

  91. Paulo Holland says

    I would like to see Caruaru city, in Pernambuco State, and Santana do Ipanema city, in Alagoas State, both in Brazil, in a huge aerial datebase update.
    Many thanks.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.