Real-time Satellites in Google Earth

Early last week GEB mentioned the release of a new visualization by Analytic Graphics Inc. which shows the real-time position of 13,000 satellites around the Earth in Google Earth. The author of the collection, Matt Amato, wrote Slashdot which certainly got more attention than my brief post. Matt’s collection is certainly worth a look if you haven’t seen it. The satellite positions come from a government sponsored database maintained in part by AGI. The positions are updated automatically every 30 seconds. The Google Earth file also shows the names of the satellites, and if you click on the 3D placemarks you can get more details. I’m offering two new ways to view this collection in addition to the official KML file – first, you can watch the YouTube below. And, second you can view it with this Google Earth plugin .

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. If you do a search for “GeoEye” on the KML you’ll find the placemark for the live position for the recently launched satellite. So, yes, the layer is definitely up-to-date:-)

  2. Didn’t someone produce a KML of the satellite that China Blew up? Showing all the debris from it?

  3. A very nice collection!
    By accident I came across an Ariane 5 debris trajectory, which looks quite weird, but I assume the fact that the track is not an ellipse is caused by the fact that the trajectory is drawn against the fixed frame of Earths lat/long system which rotates in relation to the satellite which orbits the center of gravity.

  4. Peter Sneeter says

    This is great

  5. Outstanding video! Its remarkable that they can actually get any of the space shuttles into a “safe” orbit with all those satellites around. Seems theres a lot of stuff up there now.

  6. Just wanted to know if there is any way to view my street on a specific date in the past. I was robbed and wanted to see if I could see anything suspicious going on in front of my house? Please, someone, respond to this message!!! I’m desperate to find out ANYTHING, if at all. Thanks, Nitra

    • Hi saw your post Ways to view your street at specific time. In da same situation , Vehicle stolen. Did you have any success and if so HOW.

  7. This is an urgent matter. I like to have leads to those people who can help us to find a real time Google Earth to help us to take static/motion pictures from certain location in earth.
    Can anyone help me on this topic?

  8. Can any one tell me if there is a way to get satalite veiws of earth in real time. Thank You

  9. 13000 is not the number of active satellites. This number includes a lot of debris (broken stuff and stuff that isn’t being used any more).
    AGI doesn’t maintain any portion of the government database. They make use of the public database and present it in a useful manner for the public.
    Satellite pictures are not to scale, so it makes things look more crowded than it really is (some orbits are still crowded though).
    Big thing to keep in mind is that there are 10-100 times as many objects in orbit that we cannot track because they are too small to track (~< 10 cm) but can still put a large hole or destroy your satellite if it hits you at 17,000 mph.
    So, yeah, it’s still crowded and getting worse.
    Plus you can’t burn in all satellites back through the atmosphere, since some are too high up and others don’t have sufficient fuel to burn back in in a controlled manner (i.e. over the south Pacific is best).


  11. Note as another has posted, it seems more crowded than it is because they are depicted as large icons- but let’s also not forget that these are nearly all at diverse altitudes so have a third plane they must converge at to collide.
    Do black program satellites appear in their database as well or only those officially reported as DOD/NRO etc. acknowledged?
    Finally Google doesn’t have real time imaging availabe to the public but the government has had this capability since the late 90’s and now likely has advanced SAR imaging to this point as well. Tin foil hattery jokes aside.

  12. cHARLIE rAMOS says

    Looks like the stationary satellites are not shown. I can´t find any echostar or galaxy (tv broadcasting satellites) Somebody knows someting about this?

  13. Is it possible? can we see live telecasts of earth from satellite? please help me! And suggest me the URL through which we can see live locations around the world……please!!!!!!!!!!!
    and that’s my id-

  14. Yes you can see a telcasts of earth from the satellite NEE-01 Pegaso, look at here:

  15. Does this KMZ still work?

  16. Nice system for Google Earth. Thanks.

  17. Machelle Bice says

    How do I get images from a specific time place and date

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.