The new Google Earth imagery database

Yesterday we had a look at the differences between the Street View layers in the new Google Earth, Google Earth Classic and Google Maps – with emphasis on user contributed content. Since the new Google Earth was released we wondered whether its imagery layer is based on Google Earth’s default layer, or Google Maps.

We noticed that some new imagery has been added to Google Earth Classic. As is usually the case, the new imagery can only be found in the default layer and has yet to be added to ‘historical imagery’. Also, the new imagery has not yet been added to Google Maps. This is the perfect opportunity, so we compared all three products. The location is Arequipa, Peru, where a new image dated April 4th, 2017 has been added. We are looking at the edge of the image.

Google Earth Classic. The new image is on the left half of the screenshot and is distinguishable as being greener than the older image.

New Google Earth

Google Maps

So it would appear that the new Google Earth either shares the Google Maps imagery database or has its own unique database. We noticed slight differences in colouring between new Google Earth and Google Maps above, but discovered that was caused by the street names and other labels and when we turned those off in Google Maps the images were identical.

If you come across any interesting sights in the new imagery, do let us know in the comments. The most interesting images will probably not be visible until the update is published to ‘historical imagery’.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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. Why are all these images so blurry? Resolution is very low.

    • Phones! They think everybody is using a phone and are part of the *PC in my pocket” belief which is like having a rocket in your pocket and you pull out a 6 inch model.

      Saying a smartphone is a PC is the same thing as saying a Studebaker is a Porsche showing how little you know about cars if you payed attention like I have you will notice that the reason why a lot of people haven’t moved on from XP is because from 7 and up there really isn’t any must have software for it.

      In the old days walk into any electronics store and there would be shelves upon shelves of PC software of various types and there would be something for everybody and now there is very few companies left most either defunct like BroderBund or like Blizzard got bought up by larger firms that sit on their IPs.

      Internet Archive you can see a lot of the DOS software on emulator that used to be available in stores for you to buy which is nice to do and you don’t need to download them with a bunch of pain in the ass setting up.

      They also have thousands of Amiga programs to try and those also used to be available in stores. Sort of like how we have video game stores today dedicated to just games we had PC stores dedicated to software.

      My favorite store was Egg Head.

  2. A lot of areas in California like one town Quincy California hasn’t had satellite imagery updates since October! 2012! Google seems to be intent on updating third world nations better but that’s okay they believe the USA deserves an ass kicking and is the bane of all evil. All Conservatives should be locked up in FEMA camps and are terrorists in the making.

    Before Google went far left they used to be neutral when they first started and some people thought Google was too far right and I would search and find “Is Google too Conservative?” because they were mad they couldn’t spam the index. Spamdex.

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      The US is covered with aerial imagery which now days is gathered by Google themselves. This is an expensive exercise, but they are still managing to cover most of the continental US roughly every three years. In addition they have been gathering a lot of 3D imagery too. If you check ‘historical imagery’ you will see that Quincy does have more recent satellite imagery but it is not in the default layer because aerial imagery is higher resolution.

  3. The industry wants everyone to believe a smartphone is a PC in your pocket but I’ve been using computers since Commodore 64 and I can tell you that a smartphone is as much a PC as a Studebaker is a Porsche. Sure the cars have similar car components but under the hood is a lot of things that sets them apart and they have way different audiences.

    Same with smartphones vs PC’s they have computer chips but then again so does your *Smart* appliances which are as bare minimum as a PC can get.

    The big industry is going towards heavy DRM because they are afraid people owning home PC ‘s will be too independent from the system as ona PC it’s easy to look up info and see it full where on a smartphone you can only read one line at a time.

    Heaven forbid if you try to read a long article mobile.

    The world governnments were not really into spying until the Egypt Revolution which was done via smartphone insurgents communicating to each other in code and woke the sleeping giant up to the reality that revolutions/organizations can happen very easy so they make it as difficult as possible.

    When you search for something chances are you will get different results on different machines and that is by design. I

    Google didn’t used to spammed with commercial junk and you could do a general search without much filtering needed but now you have to use their advance tools if you hope to get anywhere.

  4. pl forward link for downloading landsat images in google earth pro

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.