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How Often is Google Earth Updated – User Guide

Google Earth Updated
Written by Kelly Houstan

Google Earth is actually another splendid product from Google that gives a 3D (three-dimensional) image of Earth. The photographs basically come from satellites, obviously. It permits the users to see all around the world within their screens. The idea behind Google Earth is just to act as a geographical browser. That combines all the images received from satellites in composite form and binds them to form a 3D representation. Google earth was formerly known as the Keyhole EarthViewer actually. Just read this article to know all about How Often is Google Earth Updated – User Guide. Let’s start!

Our whole planet can view using this tool, except for the hidden places and military bases as well. You can spin the globe at your fingertips, also zoom in & zoom out just the way you like. One thing to keep in mind here is, Google Earth and Google Maps both are really different; one should not interpret the former as the latter. According to the product manager of Google Earth actually, Gopal Shah, “You guys find your way via Google maps, while Google Earth is about getting lost”. It is just like your virtual world tour.

Google Earth Updated

Are the images in Google Earth real-time?

If you guys think that you can zoom in to your current location and also see yourself standing on the street. Then you guys might want to reconsider. As we have also mention above, all the images are gather from different satellites as well. However, can you get real-time images of the places you guys see? Well, the answer is No. Satellites collect the images when they revolve around the earth over time. And it takes a particular cycle for each satellite to manage and update the images. Now here actually comes the question:

How often is Google Earth Updated?

In the Google Earth blog, it is actually write that it updates the images once a month. However, this is not it. If we dig down deeper, we get that Google does not update all the images each and every month.

Speaking on average, the Google Earth data is approximately one to three years old at an instant as well. However, doesn’t it contradict the fact that Google earth updates once every month? Well, technically, it does not really. Google earth does update each and every month, however, a tiny portion and it is impossible for an average person to detect those updates. Every part of the world holds certain factors and precedence as well. Thus the updates of each part of the Google Earth rely on these factors:

Time & Money

Google does not really own all the resources; it needs to buy a certain part of its images from many other parties. This is where the concept of time and money actually comes. The third parties do not have time in order to send aerial photos of all over the globe; neither do they have money to invest in that.

You must have noticed that many times all you can see is a blurry image whenever you zoom in too much. And a few times you guys get to see the car parking of your place clearly as well. Those high-resolution images are create via aerial photography. That is not done by Google. Google buys these kinds of images from the parties that click these photos.

Google can only buy such images only for required high-density areas, thus making money and time a factor of updates as well.


There are a lot of confidential locations, such as confined military bases that are rarely updated because of security reasons. Some of these areas have also been blacked out since forever.

It is not only for government-led areas, however, Google also stops updating those areas where suspicions arise of via images for criminal activities.

Location & Area

A constant update of urban areas basically makes more sense than the rural areas. Urban areas are more prone to changes, and that needs Google to cope up along with the changes.

Along with its own satellite, Google also takes pictures from a lot of third parties in order to speed up their processes. Therefore, more updates on high-density areas speed up drastically as well.

Why aren’t the updates continuous?

The above-mentioned factors answer this question as well. Google does not obtain all the images from its own sources; it depends on a lot of providers, and Google has to pay them, obviously. Considering all the factors, it will need a whole lot of money and time in order to update continuously. Even if Google does that, it is not at all feasible as well.

Thus, Google comprises. It plans the updates according to the above factors as well. However, it also has a rule that no region of the map should be up to three years old. Each and every image has to update within three years.

What specifically does Google Earth update?

As we have mentioned above, Google does not actually update the whole map in a single go. It basically sets updates in bits and fractions. With this, you can assume that one update may only contain a few cities or states as well.

However, how do you find the parts that have been updated? Well, Google itself helps you via releasing a KML file. Whenever Google earth is update, then a KLM file is also release, that marks the update regions with red. One can easily pot the updated regions via following the KML file.

Can you request Google for an update?

Now that we have looked into different considerations and factors as well, Google has to obey in updates, is it possible to ask Google in order to update a certain region? Well, if Google starts updating on requests, then it will shatter all the updating schedules and would cost a lot more resources that won’t be possible.

However, don’t be sad, the region you are looking for might also have an updated image in the “historical imagery” section. Many times, Google keeps the older image in the main profiling section and also posts the new images in historical imagery. Google does not really consider new images to be accurate always, thus if it finds an older image to be more accurate. It will put the same into the main app whenever putting the rest in the historical imagery section.


Well, That is all from my side. If you want to know more about this “Google Earth Updated” article or have any queries. Then feel free to ask me anything in the comments section below.

Have a Good Day!

Also See: How to Block Internet Access in Windows 10

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Kelly Houstan

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