New Google Earth Imagery – March 22, 2013

Google has just pushed out a large imagery update to much of the world. Thanks to Ali Shareef for being the first to let us know about it. Also thanks to ‘Andreas’, ‘Catalin’ and ‘Munden’ for pointing out other areas with updates.


As is almost always the case, you can use Google Maps to determine for sure whether or not a specific area is fresh. This new imagery isn’t in Google Maps yet, so you can compare Earth vs. Maps to see what’s new; the fresh imagery is already in Google Earth, but the old imagery is still in Google Maps. If you compare the two side-by-side and they’re not identical, that means that you’ve found a freshly updated area in Google Earth!
Some of the updated areas include:

  • Algeria: Arzew, Mers El Hadjad, Mers El Kebir
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Travnik
  • China: Cengangzhen, Dalian, Miaolingzhen, Nanyaowan, Qingdao, Shanghai
  • Dubai: Palm Islands
  • Egypt: Alexandria, Aswan
  • Greece: Iraklio
  • India: Kochi, Lucknow
  • Libya: Benghazi, Sirte, Tripoli, Tubruq
  • Maldives: Addu City, Gan, Male
  • Netherlands: Small area of Amsterdam
  • New Zealand: Auckland
  • Qatar: Doha
  • Romania: Barlad, Bucharest
  • Russia: Moscow, Vladivostock Harbor
  • Tunisia: Al Munastir, Bizerte, Nabeul, Tunis
  • United States: Alabama (Birmingham), Arizona (western Grand Canyon areas), California (Hidden Hills Ranch solar project), Florida (Fort Walton Beach, Freeport, Santa Rosa Beach), Hawaii (various areas), Mississippi (Jackson)

If you find any other updated areas, please leave a comment and let us know!

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. Romania: Vaslui, Sinaia, Azuga, Buzau, Piatra Neamt…

  2. Ščučyn, Biaroza and Klimavichy areas, Belarus (new hi-res areas).

  3. Cahama and Xangongo areas, Angola (new 2012 imagery)

  4. Barcelona, Maiquetia and Maracaíbo areas, Venezuela (new 2013 imagery)

  5. Lima and Pisco areas, Peru (new 2013/02 imagery)

  6. Cali and Suba (N of Bogotá) areas, Colombia

  7. Abidjan/Port-Bouët, Ivory Coast (new 2013 imagery)
    Accra, Ghana (new 2013 imagery)

  8. In Albania:
    Roskovec (3/13/2010),
    Kuçovë, Ura Vajgurore (7/15/2011),
    Vau i Dejës (10/7/2012).

  9. Memaliaj, Albania (9/26/2012).

  10. kmz has been updated
    one weird thing i came across is that some patches are extremely small like in ashevile,nc. wonder what the purpose behind this is.

  11. They destroyed Denver and Boulder Colorado,USA. All the 3d models are gone. All the trees are gone. Ugly grotesque blobs are there to replace them. I hope this was a mistake.
    Denver was hailed as one of the best modeled towns in google earth. It is all gone.
    So sad.
    Can someone verify I’m not the only one seeing this?

  12. Railfan990 says:

    The area around Christchurch (Rolleston, Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Pegasus etc.) has imagery from January and February 2013. Christchurch has most likely also been updated, but that won’t come through until Google updates the history layer as the current hi-res stuff is most likely blocking any new 2013 stuff.

  13. WOW I guess it’s one of the biggest updates ever!

  14. Yas Island in Abu Dhabi got also an imagery update.

  15. Paul, the small squares are from a different source. You’ll find those are lower resolution satellite imagery compared with the larger sections of aerial imagery in the US. Often they are also pushed down under default imagery even if they’re more recent because they’re of a lower imagery quality.
    As to ‘why’, none of us can really say. They might buy imagery from satellite companies in batches, which would include a somewhat random selection of areas. Thus they might as well included spots like this even if they mostly use the imagery in foreign countries where they don’t have aerial photography companies partnered with them.

  16. Polish towns again not updated :/

  17. The twelve widely scattered patches of update in the Uk are of very mixed quality, and unfortunately half of these look OK as ‘pretty earth’ but when zoomed in become low quality black and white images reminiscent of WWII aerial photos.
    Without exception the history layer produces better quality imagery. As Google never explain, can any GEB reader explain this increasingly common degrading is happening?

  18. Leonardo Leidi says:

    I can see Denver and Boulder Colorado,USA. perfectly in 3D with buildings and trees.

  19. Dave Timpe says:

    To control which version of 3D Imagery you see in Denver (or anywhere else there’s a choice), uncheck the box for the new imagery in the options menu, and the “legacy” imagery reappears. The idea behind the new imagery is that, while it’s less visually appealing than the old approach of modeling buildings one at a time, it’s a lot easier to do, so theoretically more cities that don’t have 3D will get it. That said, why is it that most of the examples I’ve seen so far are in the places that already had a good set of models. You’d think they’d start with the places that need it the most.

  20. Baron von Skidmarck says:

    Boulder would benefit if a bulldozer came through and scooped all the hippie wannabes up and took them to the landfill.

  21. And where is updates for polish towns? :/

  22. Piotrek, be patient. For now, use historical imagery to see new updates.

  23. Cristóbal Jordan says:

    Santiago, Chile (January-February 2013)

  24. It took Google several years to get good imagery for every Department across FRANCE. Now a single update has trashed the previous work with large swathes of poor ‘black and white’ imagery (when zoomed in). Invariably the history layer is better. And this deterioration is not just limited to France and the UK.
    Are sub-contractors in a bunker somewhere who don’t check and don’t care doing this? Or is it a Google policy for some reason?
    Google never explain, but, as asked before, does any GEB reader know what is going on?

  25. @Piotrek: lots of Polish towns have imagery of 2010 or newer. Many others are there jealous of that…

  26. @Maarten but my town have imagery of 2004.

  27. Dave Timpe says:

    Escanaba, MI still has imagery from 2003. There’s newer imagery in the history layer, but it’s at a lower resolution. I’ve also been waiting since Google Earth came into existence for the archaeological site of Dmanisi, Georgia to get better than the initial default resolution GE started with.

  28. blackoctober says:

    Trinidad and Tobago have not been updated ,we still have imagery from 2005

  29. blackoctober says:

    Trinidad and Tobago still have the 2005 imagery ,truly need update.

  30. street view is far more up to date, still large areas of UK on Google earth are still on 2007/8 images, pretty poor

  31. Diani Beach, Kenya not updated since 2005, yet North of Mombasa has been updated twice since 2005.

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.