Google has just announced that it is open sourcing Google Earth Enterprise. Google Earth Enterprise is software that can be used to host the equivalent of the Google Earth or the Google Maps databases. This is useful for organisations that have their own datasets that they would like to share internally or with customers.
The announcement post shows this image:
Presumably it can potentially also be used to share datasets with the public, not just private access as described.
We actually don’t know much more about Google Earth Enterprise as it has, until now, been restricted to use by governments and enterprises with big budgets.
In early 2015, Google made the decision to discontinue its Google Earth Enterprise business and stopped charging current customers for it. At the same time made Google Earth Pro free. The intention at the time was to move customers to alternative products from companies such as Esri. Esri even went as far as to create a Google Earth look-alike as part of that transition. However, it would seem that many customers got used to free and are happy with the Google Earth Enterprise product. And so, they did not move, hence Google’s decision to open source the platform. We applaud Google’s decision on this as it shows they do care about their customers even two years after depreciating the product. Admittedly, Google is hoping that Google Earth Enterprise users will make use of Google’s cloud platform, but that is not a requirement to use the product.