Google Earth Save Image Option

Google Earth has features for saving or printing your current view in GE. The free GE can only save out up to 1000×1000 pixels (or up to your screen size), but GE Pro can save up to 4800×4800 pixels which is good enough for high quality large prints. I’ve been experimenting with this feature in GE 4 Pro, and the results are stunning. For example, I took this panorama-like screenshot of the 3D buildings of Denver (see the blog entry I wrote about these models). Which you can see by clicking on the picture above through a Picasa Web Album. Once there you select “Download Photo” to see the full resolution (4800×1199 pixels) of this image. The quality of these 3D models with photo textures when zoomed in at full resolution is amazing.

The method GE Pro uses for creating these images is kind of cool. You select the menu choice “File->Print…” or “File->Save ->Save Image…” to initiate the process, then select what resolution you want. With the “Save” option you will get a requester letting you save the results to a JPG file. GE Pro basically uses the same method some photographers use to create “gigapixel” digital camera photos by taking a series of photos in a tile-like fashion of a scene and stitching them together using a panorama-style stitching algorithm. Each “shot” is “exposed” long enough to load the detail of the scene. It’s fun to watch – the first few times. I found you can’t get too close to a scene with 3D models because the tile-shoot method will actually miss parts of the models when it “zooms” in for each shot.

Take note that you should read the license for GE and GE Pro (search “license” on the GE help page) with regards to prints which says they can be used for “personal use only”. You also can not get permission to sell the prints – I asked Google about this.

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. Sounds great… right up to the “personal use only” point.
    I guess if I want a wallpaper for my desktop it’s cool, but my browser is always full screen anyway, so…


  3. Thanks for the tip. When you use GE Pro and save the image, is the resolution good enough to print out a poster-size print of say 3′ by 4′?

  4. Very cool thanks for the tip on google earth and ge pro

  5. Good tip. A nice refinement to this feature would be to geocode the saved jpg file’s EXIF/IPTC metadata with the image center’s lat/long coordinates. That way, one can import the image to a Picasa web album, eg, and have it automatically display its Photo Location (and thus link to Google Maps and ultimately back to Google Earth).

  6. pia westhausen says:

    Cannot save my pictures from Earth! They show a black box only, no image?
    What can I do to get images back please?
    Regards Pia

  7. Same question as Pia. I’ve been using Google Earth for years, on different OS and different computers. I have NEVER been able to save a jpg image. I get a file with a big black box in it. What am I doing wrong? My work-around is to email the thing to myself. Works, but is a clunky extra step that seems silly. If anybody has a solution, I’d love to hear from you!

  8. Same problem here, only with printing. Even if I email the jpg to myself, I can view it without problem but printing only yields a large black rectangle, same as when I print directly from GE.

  9. same problem for me…
    “Save image” “save as” “jpg”
    and it”s broken…
    I”m usining GoogleEarth v.4.37 for linux…

  10. If you got black box when exporting images, start Google Earth in OpenGL mode, not DirectX……

  11. Linda Jo says:

    I had luck saving images as long as Picasa was open and I saved to a file…it was there to crop, etc.

  12. Hi!
    It’s really amazing! But is there anyway to save a jpg image with specified size using codes.So I can save images automatically.Does Google api work? If so which object or method should I choose?
    May God bless Google

  13. aimen sghair says:

    pl z try to create a clear view for Tripoli,Libya in 1976 or later 1984 because I could not get good image

  14. For those of you using Win xxxxx and trying to save, and print,GE images ……. try this. Make a folder on your desktop like “Google Photos” Get the image you want, go to File>Save>Save Image> (save to your new folder and name the file). Go back to File and Exit. Open your new folder and select the file you made and “Open with” your Microsoft Picture Manager (depending on Win xx). At this point you can treat the image as you would any other jpeg file, and print it any size you choose. Good luck.

  15. this was a lifesaver

  16. Saving any but low and screen resolution aerial images takes forever on GE Pro, so long in fact that I haven’t been able to save any images. I have waited 10+ minutes while “The image is being prepared (this may take a minute)”, they never saved or even got out of the “…prepared…” screen.
    What is happening (or not happening) here?

  17. Works fine when opened in OpenGL mode, so never mind…

  18. I have the same problem with
    “The image is being prepared (this may take a minute)”
    and nothing happens. I tried DirectX mode and OpenGL, nothing happens (internet connection 50Mbit/s)
    Any suggestions or anyone with the same problem??

  19. Daduxing says:

    I had the same problem with: ,,The image is being prepared”.
    I’ve chamges from directX to OpenGL and sometimes is working (mostly) but sometimes it didn’t. After i restart the program is working.
    Usualy it takes less than 3-4 minute for a Premium picture. BUT that depends on the PC configuration.

  20. I had the same problem of not being able to save an image. I found that deleting my cache worked. See link below.

  21. sakkeer says:

    When I save earth pro to Image file I can’t write a description on the image.
    I have done that former. What I do to get that writing place when save as image format?

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      After you click the ‘Save image’ button on the toolbar you should see a new toolbar below it with ‘Map Options’. Check there for the option to include a title, description and more.

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.