KML File Showing New Imagery, Imagery Updated in Google Maps

[UPDATE Sept. 1: Google has released the official list of locations (and KML file) with new or updated imagery – see here.]
Yesterday, a couple of people sent me links to a Google KML file that appears to be the official file for this recent 26-August update. The file name indicates it is the “September” update, and most of the updates found by GEB readers here match the changes shown. I guess Google was just a bit early with this one. However, GEB readers found several locations which were not shown in the KML file (which I verified by comparing to Google Maps). Last night Google also updated the imagery in Google Maps, so we’ll have to wait for Google’s post today for the official details. I’ll add update this post with the official list later today (most likely).

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. Lima, Perú is not included in this KML file, even it had a terrible “update” with 2007 low quality imagery, that shows many parts of the city clowdy, and that makes all existing 3D buildings not match with this new ground.
    I hope this “update” was a mistake and therefore is not included in the KML file supplied. A mistake I hope Google will correct soon.

  2. Santiago is also not included in this KML file. I know for a fact Santiago was updated, because I look at it nearly every day.
    And then there is the obvious dark patch of DigitalGlobe imagery in western Switzerland, also not reported in this file.

  3. I think the Update-File has many mistakes.
    For example Germany Updates are not in the File
    Hope that Google will correct soon.

  4. I don’t know if this happened with this update, but I believe it is a rather recent development: the U.S. Capitol Complex (including Capitol, Congressional office buildings, reflecting pool, Botanic Garden, Library of Congress, Supreme Court), White House, and Naval Observatory (again!) are all pixelated.

  5. I have found, with the Ottawa area, that they tend to deal with only two types of imagery.
    For instance, they “updated” central Ottawa with imagery that covered Barrhaven (to the south of Ottawa) already – as in, the Barrhaven imagery was lying underneath the central Ottawa imagery, because it covers the whole of Ottawa. They just had an April 2007 image ontop of the original Barrhaven imagery (the part of which covered Ottawa central). The ‘Barrhaven’ imagery does look better than the April imagery, but instead of playing which what image lies underneath just because it may look better, they should properly update it. Because they’re just moving better-looking imagery ontop of not-so-old current imagery, enhancing the image altogether but not updating it or making it a more higher resolution.

  6. Spangdahlem Air Base Germany

  7. Despite all these updates there still remains an aweful touchup located in northern Canada located at 64°53’37.93″N 87°51’17.65″W. This time it looks like thay atleast tried to take some old imagery and photoshop it in, prior to this last update it was a brown blob with feathered in edges.

  8. Brian, yeah those spots in Washington DC area censored again, but only in the default imagery. If you back off a couple of spots on the History Time Slider in GE and look at the imagery there, Google has inserted some other imagery that’s not as good, but at least isn’t censored. Of course, all of the rest of the images in the history section are entirely uncensored anyway. (like the images they put in from President Obama’s inauguration)
    Note that the ocean/water imagery has also appeared in the History/Time Slider feature again too! This includs NEW imagery not seen before because it was brought into the system after the coastlines were clipped. I’d wondered why there was a spurious square in the Arabian Sea for those update KMZ files, and now I know why.

  9. It looks like the new imagery for Belgium that was introduced in the previous update has been expanded across the border to the Netherlands now. Specifically the city of Maastricht now has new imagery with the same date as the Belgium imagery and that was not the case earlier this month.

  10. A couple of comments:
    – some of the changes mentioned in this comments section do not appear for me. That is strange.
    – another strange update that slipped by me is that at this location: 38° 40.149’N, 122° 37.978’W The tower on top of the mountain is where it should be. Before the terrain mapping didn’t match the imagery. If you check the historical imagery, you’ll see what I mean. This change must have happend this go-round (Sept. update), since I look at this mountain all the time.
    – OK, a third comment: the historical slider at this location does not show the more-brown imagery that used to show. Maybe there’s something about their tinting imagery green. And just a few clicks back in history, you see b/w imagery (that was never there)together with color imagery. Again, strange.

  11. I just used that file to look at the closest update to me, Surrey, BC; and they have actually gone backwards a few years. A big new bridge has under construction for a few years at 49.195843 -122.664724, and now that it’s open there is now no sign of it or the new connecting highways. Turning on historical imagery and going back one update shows the bridge over half way completed.

  12. Update to my comment. I looked elsewhere in the “updated” region for recent construction of which I was aware and can see that the entire region has taken a few steps backwards. For example, center on the freeway interchange at 49.163751 -122.666789 and then go backwards in the historical data to see all the buildings that were in the last few updates, but in the “2009” data have never been constructed.
    This had been an issue in my own town of Abbotsford to the east until the latest update, though the issues in my area might have been due to the imagery being sub-par. Since my town is now up to date, I instead went west of this “updated” region to look at Vancouver itself. I found the same issues there.
    49.199560 -123.126799 – Go backwards in the imagery to see our new rapid transit bridges to the east and west of this point; there is no sign of them in the “2009” imagery.
    19.289363 -123.115910 – Go backwards in the imagery to see the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is where the media outlets will be base during the 2010 Olympics. “2009” imagery has the construction barely started.
    There are numerous examples as I look around to show that almost everything in Greater Vancouver has been put back several years. In a couple of areas the imagery did look crisper, but it seems they didn’t just go back an update or two but rather are displaying the data from several updates ago. To display such old data seems strange in a city where they recently made the entire downtown in 3D buildings, seemingly in preparation for all the attention the area will see in 6 months during the Olympics.

  13. Topeka, KS imagery is updated. But the resolution got worse. 🙁

  14. Hai Quang Pham says:

    The aerial map of Hanoi is quite too old.The date of this aerial map of hanoi is just only Nov 23, 2005.So I want Google Earth to update the aerial map of Hanoi as soon as possible

  15. Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK – The imagery here has been updated, but what is unusual is that the difference from the old imagery to the new appears to be only hours. Check out car showrooms, the cars on the forecourt are the same 53° 51′ 51.79″, 1° 54′ 18.24″. Building works (houses etc) remain unchanged, cars parked outside houses haven’t moved. The only things that appear to have moved are cars on the road and shadows. The exercise seems pretty pointless, although imagery is slightly crisper.

  16. Shivam Mahajan says:

    Area near Melbourne, Australia has new imagery.

  17. Bruce Kendall says:

    I use Google Earth a lot for making military training maps in Saudi Arabia. It seems the whole of Saudi in Google Earth has changed from just a day a go. It now appears that most of Saudi is covered by a light tan haze, similar to a sand storm. We have sand storms here but not to this extent. I don’t know if what has happened is part of the 26 August up date or not. Parts of Saudi where updated this May or June, this included nearly al of Riyadh, but the clarity and color did not change then. In addition a area east of town, that we use for training, it appears to be up dated but not with the same resolution as nearby areas. The color of this section has improved a lot from ugly green to light tan we so like in this part of the world.

  18. What are you doing Google? Big parts of Indonesia (East Java and Bali for instance) have reverted to very old photos from 2002 and 2003 with bad qualiy and lots of clouds. Many major roads and village names have disappeared. What is going on???

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.