Can Google come update my area?

We get emails quite often asking if/when Google will be updating the imagery in a particular area. The short answer is no, we have no idea when new imagery might appear and we don’t know Google’s plans for updating a particular location. We discussed this question last year, but a few things have changed since then. Here is an overview of some options you have if you’re wondering about the next update for a specific area.


As we’ve seen recently with Japan (and previously with Christchurch, Haiti and others), Google is quick to respond to a natural disaster and tries to publish updated imagery as quickly as possible.

Historical Imagery

While the historical imagery in Google Earth is typically older than what’s on the base map, that’s not always the case. Check your area, and you may find that the historical imagery is newer than the main imagery.

Get updates about your area

A few months ago, Google introduced the “Follow Your World” tool, which allows you to sign up for notifications when a particular location is updated.

Things are speeding up

Google is gradually increasing the pace and quantity of their imagery updates, so every area should start to see a more rapid cycle of fresh imagery in the coming years.

How it all works

Of course, be sure to check out this excellent post from Frank a few years ago that explains how the entire imagery process works.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. I agree. I requested an update/re-processing of imagery in Santa Monica and although it took a while, it did get done in a good way. Go Google.

  2. A helpful reminder about the mysteries of Google processes, but speeding up may not be entirely a good thing if it means new poorer quality images replace better ones, as has been happening.
    Google should have a general rule of thumb only to replace old images by new ones of a least equivalent quality, and higher res if possible, with quality improvement as the overriding principal rather than updating for its own sake.

  3. Chris, I agree with you. I suggest looking onto Earth Builder. You can control images this way.

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