Details on Sept. 5 Google Earth Imagery Update

Google has released the details on the imagery update found by GEB readers last Friday. However, although Google gives some details in the report – it falls to a “sprinkled around the globe” statement on a lot of the imagery. It doesn’t point out that the entire state of West Virginia has new high resolution imagery to go along with the already very high resolution terrain there. The comments from last Friday’s GEB post have many other locations listed. I also noticed that there apparently wasn’t any new high resolution terrain in this update. Considering we haven’t had an update since July, I was hoping for more terrain at least.
Anyway, for convenience, here are Google’s details:
Updated Imagery:
USA: Chicago, Houston, Tampa, Nassau County (NY), Westchester County (NY), Rockland County (NY), Putnam County (NY), Rensselaer County, Albany County (NY), Schenectady County (NY), SaratogaCounty (NY), Tompkins County (NY), Schuyler County (NY), Seneca County (NY), Yates County (NY), Steuben County (NY), Allegany County (NY), Cattaraugus County (NY), West Virginia, part of Rhode Island, part of Massachusetts, and part of New Hampshire.
Canada: Middlesex County (ON)
Europe, Middle East, & Africa:
France: Paris, Orleans, Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropaz
Italy: Torino, Bologna, Ancona, Lucca, Latina, Capraia Island, Stintino, Villasimius, Palermo, Agrigento
Switzerland: Zurich, Oberhasli, Thun, Emmental-Oberaargau, Basel, St. Gallen
Monaco: entire country
Czech Republic: Prague, Ostrava
Slovakia: entire country
Asia & Oceania:
Japan: Kobe, Kyoto, Kawasaki, Saitama, Chiba
Australia: Canberra, Wollongong, The Great Ocean Road
New high resolution satellite imagery: sprinkled around the globe, with heavier concentrations in Canada, Mexico, and China.
New 2.5m base imagery for: Greece, Turkey, and Australia.
See more details on new imagery from GEB readers over the weekend (read the comments too).

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. Not quite on topic, but just recently (today?) they also added new markers for Populated Places – some white X in a blue square, which is yet another unfortunate icon choice in my book.
    And, something I didn’t see mentioned yet or I missed it, in the wake of the new Panoramio and Places/Wikipedia icon update some time ago, they basically shut down the “Google Earth Community” sub-tree, in Gallery. Granted that one always was quite a mess, but there’s one sub-element in there that I always was using and that is now missing.

  2. GE Community – which element(s) is/are now missing, and how can one find out?
    Populated places – still red dots where I have looked (but not linked to any information for some time now). Whereabouts are the new icons?
    New high resolution imagery enigmatically “sprinkled around the globe” shgould keep the comments coming into GEBlog for some time.

  3. The Places markers are back to being the standard red dots with a white border now, phew. Much better that way. Who knows what that was, looked a bit like one of those they tried out a few months ago.
    The “Google Earth Community” in Gallery, well that used to be a whole sub-tree, I for one had the Military element enabled at all times. That’s all missing now, you either have the single Community element checked or not. But the new singulary Community layer doesn’t consist of all the markers that were there before (everything would be hopelessly cluttered otherwise), nor has the rest been moved to the new Places sublayer. They simply axed most of it.
    As for the new imagery, I agree with what someone mentioned regarding eastern Massachusetts. That’s no improvement at all, the resolution is about the same as before but it’s much more washed out and plagued with artifacts now, and mostly with a less ideal oblique perspective where it was straight top-down before. Same is true for parts of the new NY State imagery, e.g. in the Schenectady/Albany area.

  4. It says right there in Google’s details that West Virginia was updated. I don’t know about the Mass data… might not be as nice, but at least it’s so much newer and gets rid of a lot of censorship.

  5. I normally comment on Australian imagery updates, but after finding nothing except updates for New South Wales and the ACT, I didn’t bother this time. But I was surprised to see high resolution for the Great Ocean Road listed in the updates above, which I missed while skimming over Australia for updates. Very impressed Google. The Twelve Apostles can now be clearly seen in Google Earth, and the Imagery was only taken in March!

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, “Z”, on the changes to GE community place marks. There certainly was a problem of high density and duplication in places, and also of old marks not fitting new imagery – on the military side this happened in Portsmouth UK dockyard when ships were no longer in the new 2007 images. So perhaps GE have simply edited out old marks? But surely it is a better to increase the range of sub elements and to let the users choose what they want.

  7. That’s a good point, Chris. There was lots of redundancy and somewhat questionable quality in terms of accuracy in those community markers, and with continuous imagery updates they certainly become obsolete over time. Could be Google simply decided to integrate into the new tree structure and Places community layer what they could and what made sense, and give up on the vast rest of the markers. It’s probably near impossible to make every author of a forum post keep track of their stuff and update it if need be. Thinking about it, I wonder if this ever came up in the GE Forums as such. (I’m not participating there myself.)
    To add some praise, other parts of the new NY State imagery indeed are an improvement, e.g. in the Finger Lakes area.

  8. GE Community place marks – I’ve searched the Community pages for items on the changes without finding anything so far, which is a bit surprsing as they wipe out a lot of members’ contributions, but editing must have been automated given the large number of place marks.
    GE is a great resource, with every update adding fascinating new content, but the Google policy of minimal explanatory information, whilst keeping the blogs busy trying to fill the gaps, seems at odds with the overall objective of opening up the globe.

  9. I’m quite disappointed with the new GE Community feature. It halves the fun of GE. Boooooooo

  10. the “updated” imagry for mass is TERRIBLE!
    it may be newer but the angle is not straight down and images are from summer.
    too many trees mean you cant see houses or the groung or roads and paths etc.
    i dread what the new sat images will provide.
    i now use worldwind for viewing mass.

  11. I have a problem with my Google Earth recently that doesn’t show up every time but when it does I can’t use it at all. Large sections of the globe turn white with a red X in it. What does that mean? How do I fix it? I have the version: 4.3.7284.3916.

  12. I have downloaded a link to an overlay and get the the Red X. A fellow colleague did the sam thing and didnt get the red X. I have experienced this problem before. I only started to have the problem with the later versions of Google Earth.

  13. Kirk Douglas says:

    How do I get the red dot – populated places to appear in GE? I saw them before, but they have disappeared.

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.