New Google Earth Imagery – February 17

It’s been roughly a month since the previous imagery update, but Google has just pushed out a fresh batch of new imagery to a variety of places around the world. Thanks to all of the readers that sent in tips.


Due to the new “Pretty Earth” imagery, it’s more difficult to spot fresh imagery. Also, the imagery this month arrived in Google Maps before Google Earth, which threw us off a bit. In any case, here are some of the locations that GEB readers have identified as having fresh imagery. Many of them were made aware of the new imagery via the Follow Your World notifications, which we certainly encourage you to sign up for.
Here is the list of updated areas we know about so far:

  • Canada: Villeneuve
  • Italy: Vernazza
  • Romania: Deva
  • Spain: Villacariedo
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai
  • United States: California (Chino, Eureka), Illinois (Decatur), Louisiana (Alexandria), North Dakota (Minot), Tennessee (Johnson City, Kingsport)

If you know of any others, please contact us and let us know. Thanks!

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.

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. Sarajevo, BiH

  2. I got a Follow Your World notification for Marrakech, Morocco.

  3. I was also notified by Follow Your World for Székesfehérvár, Hungary and Taxco, Mexico
    Also definitely new imagery for Juba, South Sudan and Tekirdag, Turkey

  4. Avezzano (Italy)

  5. The Grad Dune of Pyla, France

  6. Werdum, Germany

  7. There appears to new imagery in Ireland as well, in Killarney anyways. I discovered this after receiving an alert from Google’s Follow Your World service.

  8. România: Deva, Craiova, Onești, Miercurea-Ciuc, Odorheiu Secuiesc

  9. Hungary: Gödöllő, Hatvan, Gyöngyös
    (In Gödöllő, the new imagery has lower resolution than before)

  10. Serbia: Donji Milanovac, Djerdap
    Hungary: Székesheférvár confirmed
    Turkey: Tekirdağ confirmed

  11. Not sure of the extent of the imagery, but Strathmore, Alberta, Canada was updated. (Finally).

  12. bucharest 24 march 2011….a little strip of imagery ….

  13. Why did it took over a month to pull out a small update? I was expecting a bigger one.

  14. Saudi Arabia: Riyadh & Makkah
    Egypt: Cairo

  15. Vlora, Albania (6/13/2011).
    Bitola, Macedonia; Florina, Kastoria, Greece (7/21/2011).

  16. @Jonhrf
    for me it seems big 😉

  17. Haifa, Israel has been updated

  18. Although they’ve updated Google Maps so quickly (before Google Earth apparently, this time) you CAN still double-check on whether something is updated. The new imagery has not yet been pushed into the history timeslider data yet. Using that feature you can make sure something was updated, if you have questions about it.
    As for a delay, there is always a slow pickup at the start of a new year. This year has actually been fairly good for updates though. They added South Korea and updated a lot of older Street View imagery for one update, and for another they added a fair bit of 45 degree imagery. It’s a solid start.
    It looks to me as though they’ll settle into a new way of doing things as we’ve seen so far. They might push out more imagery more quickly to Maps and Earth, but will only tell us every two weeks using the network KMZ. If that holds true, that should get updated sometime on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

  19. @ Munden
    I understand

  20. Yeah it seems to me that the updates are slower than usual recently.

  21. Algeria: Batna

  22. It seems to be a massive update this time. A huge number of imagery updates have been found in China as has been seen on a Chinese website.

  23. florent1024 says:

    Itú area in SP / Brazil, has new and detailled imagery from 01/06/2011 (1st of june)

  24. Suez Canal, Shanghai
    Mokpo, South Korea

  25. Surabaya (Except South Surabaya), Gresik, and Kamal & Suramadu Bridge(Madura), Indonesia (5/23/2011)

  26. Anybody noticed the major lack of street view updates compared to the first 2 years?
    Not only that but has anybody noticed most of the images outside the USA look like 1980s style camera?

  27. Lack of major Street View updates? Adding all of Belgium late last year is nothing? Getting started with South Korea already this year is nothing? Huge expansion of coverage in Italy last year is nothing? Sorry, but I have to disagree with you about a lack of major SV updates.
    Your comment about “1980’s style camera” is lacking any details. We have no reference at all for what you mean when you say “80’s style camera.” If it’s a reference to the lowest resolution images, then no. That’s far from true. Japan has some of it, and New Zealand still has its imagery of that quality. The rest of the countries outside of the USA use one of the good high resolution cameras.

  28. How to know the full extent of Imagery.
    Keep on Flying over the New Imagery , until thev date changes. When you get to the borderline of the imagery dates, make a path measure.

  29. For what it’s worth, I don’t see an update in China, California. I enjoy looking at the Chino airport because of all of the restoration work they do on old planes. All of the imagery in that area is already in the history list.
    I did notice that they’ve updated Mount Everest with a late 2011 image.

  30. Although central Baku in Azerbaijan has older high resolution imagery covering it, most of the surrounding area is showing a series of updates from very late in 2011. (such as October) These include cities like Sabayil out past Turkan to the end of the peninsula. It goes up north to Naji Zeynalabdin, although it doesn’t really go very far west at all.
    Cartagena, Spain:
    This update is difficult to spot because Google is leaving the much higher resolution imagery for the city even though it’s much older. Looking at the Naval harbor, though, you can see there is new imagery from 2011 there now. Since this 2011 imagery isn’t yet in the historical listing, it’s safe to say it’s brand new.

  31. Croatia: Mali Losinj and a large portion in center of Otok Cres.

  32. Franceville (Mvengue) airport, Gabon, is now available in high-res.

  33. There are some Russian ones I’ve spotted.
    St Petersburg, port and bay. The city is untouched, but the ports and water are updated, as well as some to the south of those areas)
    Monino and lots of the surrounding area. There’s a patch of unchanged imagery that includes part of the air museum, but some of it got updated.
    There’s a block north of Beijing that runs up to include part of their air museum too.

  34. Syria: Hims, Subaykhan, Al Bukamal, and Irbid
    Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo

  35. How long after update do red outlines of updated areas appear?

  36. Nobody knows, Brandon. My wild guess is Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

  37. Spain — The archaeological sites of the Sierra de Atapuerca (Gran Dolina, Sima de los Huesos, etc). Burgos is also fairly new, but I think that was a previous update. The new imagery of the sites is much better than the old.

  38. Dave, there is definitely new imagery there. I don’t know where the sites specifically are, but there is new imagery from 7-20-2011 that isn’t in the historical imagery. That makes it new for this update. Good catch!

  39. New imagery from February 14 is ON. Thanks!


  41. The KMZ shows that this is a very large update, but whether quality is matched by quantity is another matter.
    Random checks in Europe show that a lot of new imagery is ‘washed out’ at low viewing altitudes compared with historical imagery in terms of colour and contrast, maybe something to do with viewing pretty GE from a variety of altitudes.
    See for example the two new patches in Scotland, and some in Ireland, made ugly by loss of colour and over emphasised shadows at low viewing altitudes. We also have “new imagery” from 1999 in the town of Girvan, SW Scotland, but at least it’s pretty!
    Is the cost of pretty GE too high?

  42. Pretty GE has nothing to do with differences in image quality between updates.
    This is something we’ve seen since Day 1. Google decides they have new imagery that’s worth installing for some reason. (changes to roads or just to replace years-old imagery) It’s simply not always possible to get an image as good as an old one. There are a lot of variables there.

  43. kmz shows bucharest romania is updated but is not…it’s the same old stuff 🙁

  44. @ Munden – I am only too aware that update quality has varied over the years, but this is a new issue if I am not mistaken, hence the query about pretty GE.
    Go for example to the W- E strip of new imagery shown on the KMZ over the centre of the Kyntyre peninsular and the north of the Isle of Arran in Scotland – the new imagery looks pretty enough from 5km, but as you zoom in to 1km and lower there is an ugly loss of colour and too much contrast Click the clock to history, zoom in and out, no problem, and I am wondering why.

  45. I’m trying to help folks understand how this works. 🙂
    To explain again how Pretty Earth works:
    When zoomed out, you will either get the colorful low-res image or a mingling of the colorful low-res image and whatever default high-res imagery is set for that location. (if there is any high res, of course) Pretty Earth is only used to present a nice view when zoomed out, and then try to blend it smoothly into the high res image as you get closer.
    NOTE: Once you are zoomed in, there is no Pretty Earth in place. You’re looking at the imagery as-is with no changes.
    When zoomed out (as you say, to 5k) you’re looking at low resolution imagery mingling with what’s below. If the default high res imagery is bland on its own, it will seem more colorful because it’s blended with the low-res image. As you zoom in, it changes over to the bland high res imagery.
    If the imagery doesn’t look good to you when you’re zoomed in, it is only because you don’t like the look of the imagery they put in place there. (a perfectly valid thing to think) It has nothing to do with Pretty Earth.

  46. pretty earth sucks :-q

  47. @ Munden – it is not an issue with the way Pretty Earth is intended to work, but that contrast has been has been exaggerated in what might otherwise be good imagery in too many of the updated areas in Europe for the new imagery to be from a single source (copyrights also vary).
    Hence the suggestion that the ugly result is connected with trying to achieve ‘smooth’ zoom in Pretty Earth. It is also seems too much of a coincidence that this has happened so soon after the introduction of Pretty Earth

  48. If Pretty Earth affected imagery even while zoomed in, there would be changes in all imagery including those which were already in place. That’s simply not there. It’s simply not the case.
    Chris, feel free to continue thinking whatever you wish. I think it’s been explained clearly enough as to how this works and how it doesn’t work. Imagery like this has appeared constantly since GE came into being. It’s not new, nor is it a coincidence. What’s different is that you decided that you don’t like Pretty Earth and place on its shoulders anything you don’t like now.

  49. @ Munden – of course the issues of contrast and colour are relatively limited in extent, and were never claimed to be otherwise, nor that the issues were part of the way Pretty Earth works technically.
    But Google or their contractors can and do adjust the colour and contrast of the various resolutions of imagery for a variety of reasons. It now seems that Pretty Earth is one of them, but it is sometimes going wrong at high resolutions.
    That is not disliking Pretty Earth, which is overall an improvement, just raising some of the apparent downsides in the hope that they will be appreciated by Google and addressed.

  50. Regarding the reports of non updated (but marked) areas, I believe that we cannot see them because the higher resolution (the prettiest 🙂 ) image is an older image and so we need to use the historical images function to access the newest imagery. However, some of the latest images don’t appear yet in the slider and so we cannot select them. That seems so be the case in Cartagena and a lot of other places like Porto, Portugal.
    Regarding “Pretty Earth”, from a regular user stand point it is a very nice feature. But it gets really anoying if you have placemarks with a view higher than 2Km, as you will always see a modified picture. Google should limit pretty earth to about 10Km for confort.

  51. @ AC – there is no doubt that this is a very complex update and that the historic imagery slider does not at the moment open up imagery in a consistent way, aside from the fact that older imagery does not always appear to be retained (licensing reasons?)
    Nevertheless, it is hard to see any reason why good quality high resolution imagery should be replaced by newer images which are of manifestly lower quality.

  52. Chris, I believe it is really a time issue due to the massive amount of new data. Otherwise it would make no sense to update it, as in some areas only a tiny portion of a large strip can be seen (and tipically the portion where there is nothing at all).
    I strongly believe that a lot of people use GEarth and GMaps as reference (for planning trips, etc). And for that purpose using a 5 year old hi-res image makes no sense if a newer image, albeight of slightly lower resolution, is available. For instance, where I live the standard imagery is from 2007. Completly new 6 lane highways were built since then and are still partially missing. One of them is present, under construction, in the newest 2010 imagery. The other should appear in the updated 2011 imagery that is currently overlaped.
    It is also disapointing that the latest is also not present in the maps (roads) layer, as it has been open for the last 6 months. Bing/Navteq has it, Google/TeleAtlas doesn’t. Despite that, it still understandable as it is very fresh.

  53. Chris, there are areas that on GE are in low resolution but in the Historical imagery have high resolution images for now 3 months but still are not on GE. (see central BiH around Zenica- consists of 2 strips that go all the way into Croatia) Why would that happen if GE, as you say posts only highest resolution images?

  54. @ AC and tec – thanks for your further observations about the complexities of updating.
    However, trips on the latest six lane highways are surely best planned using the [Map] option on Goole Maps which hopefully would be more up to date than satellite/aerial imagery, while GE provides a fantastic picture of the whole landscape, and having a good quality image takes precedent over showing limited changes from the last few years imho.
    Some of the latest lower quality imagery shows no obvious highway or other developments from the better quality images now in history, so why update?

  55. Chris, regarding the new (less than 2 years old) roads, Google Maps has none of them.
    Hell, my company is on a street that is 3 years old, the street is shown on the map, but has no name, so you can only find it thru the business listings. And the map doesn’t even overlay the imagery correctly.
    Sometimes I wish I lived in Africa. At least there you can use MapMaker to correct things…

  56. @ AC – you are right about the lag in Google Maps, they are less up to date than I thought. I have been checking here in the UK, and, while major new roads appear on the digital maps of Ordnance Survey (OS – the national mapping agency) almost as soon as they open for traffic – OS get info from the constructors – Google does not seem to get such updates from OS
    OS runs on a quasi commercial basis, so perhaps there are issues over licensing and cost, but you can access the OS maps through Bing. Whatever, map and directions users and also businesses could be missing out.

  57. The historical images layer has been updated. We can now access the previously masked areas.
    Chris, OS maps should be the best for the UK, as should those of any coutry’s agency (IGeo here in Portugal). Those of commercial nature, like Navteq and TeleAtlas, usually lag a bit. Anyway, Navteq is usually more up to date than TA, and that is the reason most high-end GPS device brands use them.

  58. @ Chris that is my point exactly if GE is about the best quality image why does it use a low resolution image over high resolution. By the way Google maps are clueless about BiH.

  59. @ AC – historical imagery does not seem to have changed in the problem areas of low quality new imagery that I have been checking, but it still usually shows that there was better quality before. I would be grateful to know if I am missing something.
    And, yes, OS maps in Britain should be more up to date, but they do supply/sell digital updates without delay.

  60. New imagery for Manila Philippines please!!!…

  61. New imagery for Meckuevci,Macedonia

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.