Google Earth is equipped with a visually distinct, extensive database of satellite imagery and 3D models. Re-imagine the possibilities of mapping in your production. Below we will highlight some of the features most relevant to media use. All of these features are available in both the Free and Pro versions of the software.
Worldwide satellite coverage
No matter where a story takes you, Google Earth has satellite coverage for you to use. Over one quarter of the world’s land surface, covering over 75% of the world’s population, is in sub-meter high resolution — meaning each pixel represents an area smaller than one square meter, roughly enough detail to see a car windshield.
We frequently update our worldwide imagery database in an ongoing effort to document the state of the world accurately.
3D buildings: Use ours or make your own
Use the hundreds of thousands of 3D models available in Google Earth to render a highly realistic view of a city or specific building. For an increasing number of locations, you can find photo-realistic models of all city centre buildings and surrounding neighbourhoods. You can even animate daylight by using the time of day feature to make your shot match a specific hour.
Terrain: Mountains, valleys and under the sea
In addition to buildings, Google Earth offers worldwide measurement-based terrain imagery. Show mountains, cliffs, valleys and even trenches and continental shelves under the sea. For a more dramatic presentation, you can exaggerate terrain by up to three times. Satellite imagery drapes precisely on top of the terrain, so when you can’t send a camera to take the shot, you can rely on Google Earth.
Most extensive map data
Google Earth shares the same road, landmark and border data trusted by hundreds of millions of Google Maps users. We also offer user-contributed map data from over 170 countries and territories through our Google Map Maker programme. Our users have helped delimit roads, parks and major buildings in countries where other digital maps only have sufficient information to show a dot to represent a city. These extra details, vetted by a moderation team, are invaluable when researching and creating maps to support news reports or features from parts of the world that are less accessible. This information is available when you turn on the Roads and Borders and Labels layers.
Would you like to show how an old stadium was torn down and a new one put in its place? Then the Historical Imagery feature is for you. Google Earth offers imagery from the past several years, worldwide. In the US and other selected locations, we have acquired older imagery, some going as far back as World War II, and many major cities offer a dozen or more views throughout time and during various seasons. Simply click the clock icon and scroll through time – the notches indicate every point in time for which we have a photo within the current view.
Thousands of layers
From real-time earthquake locations to undersea oil pipelines, airplane paths to demographic data, there are thousands of layers of geographical data available through the Google Earth ecosystem. Some are accessible through the layers on the left within the desktop version, while others can be found in the Google Earth Gallery or simply by adding the letters KML or KMZ to a web search to find files compatible with Google Earth. This sort of data can greatly enrich your news coverage, with a quick and compelling platform for visualising geographical information.
Moon, Mars and Sky
Google Earth can also offer an outer world experience. Should your news or feature story venture to the cosmos, you can click on the planet icon to jump to the Moon, Mars or the night sky. Moon and Mars offer the same sort of interactivity as Earth and also feature some rich, on-the-surface content from Apollo missions and Mars rovers.
There’s a whole lot more that you can do with Google Earth and we invite you to learn more in our Help Centre. The next step is to learn about the tools and techniques available for applying this powerful content to your broadcasting or publishing needs.