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For 11 years, Google Earth has allowed anyone with a fast Internet connection to explore the world from their desk. Without having to step foot on a plane, you can see the dizzying skyscrapers of Manhattan, marvel at the reddish splendor of Uluru, or even take a trip to space, all for free.

It’s not all that surprising that Google Earth is one of Mountain View’s most loved products. But most didn’t know that there was another version of Google Earth called Google Earth Pro, which is now free.

The Pro version used to cost an eye-watering $400, and comes with some amazing exclusive features. Here are four you probably should check out.

Go On A Tour (And Show Your Friends)

Google Earth Pro lets you explore the stars, as well as the terrestrial world. But you probably already knew that. But did you know you can record and share journeys made with Google Earth Pro?

The Pro version makes it really trivial to record a journey (in Google Earth Pro parlance, a ‘tour’), be it in street view, or otherwise. Once you’ve made your recording, you can share it online. Tours are stored How To Create Your Own Virtual Tour On Google Earth With A KML File How To Create Your Own Virtual Tour On Google Earth With A KML File Recording your own virtual tours in Google Earth is a great way to remember your trips, and re-experience them (to a degree) at any time. Recording a Google Earth KML file might sound complicated, but... Read More in KML (Keyhole Markup Language) and KMZ (Keyhole Markup Zip) files, which can only really be opened with Google Earth, and a handful of other specialized applications, such as the open source Google Earth alternative, Marble Marble - An Open Source Alternative To Google Earth [Linux] Marble - An Open Source Alternative To Google Earth [Linux] If you haven't tried out Google Earth, you may be missing out. But it can sometimes be a resource hog. Additionally, Google Earth is made by, well, Google, which might lead some people to automatically... Read More .

earth-tour

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The advantage of distributing as KML is that it is possible to edit them at a later point. But should you wish, Google Earth Pro also comes with the ability to produce a video file for later sharing on Youtube, or any other video sharing site. It can even produce ludicrously detailed HD-quality movies, although lacks the ability to produce 4K video. Here’s one I made earlier.

Find Out More About The World

Does Nebraska have a larger voter turnout rate than Alabama? Are there more Fair Trade farms in Sierra Leone than in Rwanda? Do more people live in Los Angeles than in San Francisco? If you’ve ever pondered these questions, you’ll love Google Earth Pro, which comes a number of additional datasets relating to demography and geography that are exclusive to the premium version of the app.

google-earth-fairtade

And if you’re a budding geographer or sociologist yourself, you can even create your own datasets and import them into Google Earth Pro, including the ability to map up to 2500 addresses from an XML file. My colleague Angela Alcorn has run through this in the past 7 Ways To Make A Google Map Using Google Spreadsheet Data 7 Ways To Make A Google Map Using Google Spreadsheet Data If you maintain a lot of data in Google spreadsheets, you've probably considered plotting them in a Google Map. Well, you can, but doing this is not quite as obvious as you might expect. Read More .

Of course, if you’re working with open cartographic data, and you want something that’s easier to publish and share, you might want to consider using ScraperWiki Doing Data Science in the Cloud With ScraperWiki Doing Data Science in the Cloud With ScraperWiki Data science is the new big thing in technology; highly trendy and highly paid, with data scientists being sought by some of the largest companies in the world. Read More .

Find Out How Bad The Traffic Is In Your Neighborhood

The free version of Google Earth makes it simple to visualize the world with ‘layers’, where data is superimposed onto the world. Handy, right?

google-earth-traffic

Well, Google Earth Pro takes this to the next level, with even more layers to work with, including historical traffic data. It’s not quite the real-time data that’s available on the Android version Google Maps Navigation For Android Helps You Avoid Traffic Jams [News] Google Maps Navigation For Android Helps You Avoid Traffic Jams [News] Read More of Google Maps, but it’s certainly handy if you’re moving into a new house and want to work out your odds of showing up to work late every day.

Solve Property Disputes

If you’ve ever been involved in a property dispute, you’ll know how acrimonious they can get. They’re rough. Thankfully, there’s an all-seeing arbiter for these disputes. It’s called parcel data, and it definitively defines property boundaries.

earth-parce

This data is usually quite hard (and expensive) to get hold of, but not any more. Google Earth Pro comes with this parcel data, making it possible to find out who owns what land. Furthermore, each property parcel comes with a unique ID andGoogle Earth Pro natively supports searching by these IDs from within its built-in search function.

Fantastic? You bet, but hardly surprising given that Google Earth Pro is a premium product.

Anything Else?

Google Earth Pro comes with a number of handy advantages over the free version, including the ability to print ultra-high resolution images and a feature that allows you to measure and superimpose your own 3D building mock-ups. But let’s not forget that the free version of Google Earth comes with some pretty amazing features too, all of which are present in this version.

Features like the ability to look at historical satellite data. Ever wanted to look at New York in 1978? Now you can.

earth-historical

Google Earth also comes with a number of impressive datasets, including those produced by charities, companies and non-governmental organizations. One of these is by environmental pressure group Greenpeace, which allows you to map ecological destruction worldwide.

earth-greenpeace

Finally, if so inclined, you can sit back and simply gaze at the splendor of the known universe.

earth-sky

If that’s not enough, check out these 5 cool things you can do with Google Earth 5 More Cool Things You Can Do With Google Earth 5 More Cool Things You Can Do With Google Earth In this article, I'm going to share five really cool features I found in Google Earth. These features are perfect if you're looking to build a new house or trying to find a place to... Read More . There are even some games. 6 Google Earth Games For Some Fun & Frolic Around The Globe 6 Google Earth Games For Some Fun & Frolic Around The Globe Read More

Over To You

Have you downloaded Google Earth Pro yet? Found anything awesome?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

  1. KIM
    November 21, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Dear Sir,
    I am interested in Recording video feature in Google Earth, I have done it. But how can we export it as video file and upload to youtube?

    Best regard,
    KIM

  2. sean robson
    November 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

    can you get the parcel data for the U.K.

  3. Danilo
    October 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Very powerful software but if one finds 2011 maps and no 3D for one of the most important 15th century castle of Europe, if request several times by user for an upgrade, no one at Google people cares about ...

  4. Joe
    February 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I no longer have the partial data information. Does anyone know how to reclaim it?

  5. Jacob
    February 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    One of your "4 things" isn't even in Google Earth Pro any more. US Parcel data was removed 1/29/16: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/maps/2Bpdn1eQeuQ

  6. Megan Wycuff
    November 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Has anyone had success downloading a movie file from Google Earth Pro? The Movie Maker option under Tools is grayed out in my version - I'm wondering if the capability was taken away. Thanks!

  7. First Spear
    October 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Install Pro on a USB stick. Street View images resolve much much faster than when installed to a hard drive, and it's also faster than installing onto an SSD. Mine's on a USB 3 stick, and it's lightning fast.
    This may only work with Pro, because last time I installed Earth ordinary, it did not offer installation location, and immediately installed to C: drive, without asking.

  8. Javvad
    February 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Cool thanks man. I was wondering what the Pro version would include but didn't have the time to find out for myself. On my way to download now :)

  9. Rob Rand
    February 9, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Um, no. Property boundary disputes are not solved with this kind of software tool. Parcel data is actually pretty rough on the county level, used for tax purposes. To get precise on where the fence is supposed to be, it takes professional survey; there are several levels of survey precision, and then it gets really interesting when the surveyor goes back in time attempting resolve deed descriptions. Eventually title companies and an attorney or two probably get into the picture, especially if warranty deeds are involved. It the title company is defunct, it gets even more interesting. If only it could work as simply as described- alas life and property boundary disputes are generally not so simple.

  10. Me
    February 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Doesn't work. I got excited at the prospect of showing property lines, but clicking "US Parcel Data" as described in the article does nothing.

    Will uninstall Google Earth. Worthless article other than its marketing for a product that's different from the one described.

  11. Boozed
    February 8, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    parcel data that definitively defines property boundaries.

    WRONG. Nothing definitive about it.

    In the neighborhood I reside in the data displayed is off by at least 25 feet. On my property
    and street I reside it is the same. Checked areas I am familiar with (locally) and all the properties show similar offsets with defined property lines extending to the street. In this area all property lines end before the roadside ditch so it was easy to note the entire area is in error.
    0
    So your blog statement
    "Solve Property Disputes

    If you’ve ever been involved in a property dispute, you’ll know how acrimonious they can get. They’re rough. Thankfully, there’s an all-seeing arbiter for these disputes. It’s called parcel data, and it definitively defines property boundaries."

    Is misleading at best.
    If this area has such error I am reasonably sure the error is repeated elsewhere in the USA.
    ANyone relying on this data to 'Solve Property Disputes' would most likely be shown to
    be a fool by a proper survey.

  12. Ken Mitchell
    February 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Definitively draws property boundaries? Not so much. In my neighborhood, the property lines appear to be drawn about 15 feet to the east from where they are. My side yard and about 5 feet of house is shown on my neighbor's lot, and my neighbor's driveway and about 5 feet of HIS house are shown on my lot. (We had our lot surveyed when we bought it, so I know where the property lines are.)

    I like Google Earth a lot - but if there's a dispute between my surveyor and Google Earth, I know which one I'll trust more..... :-)

  13. Julia Cartmel Jester
    February 8, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Google Earth Pro just like the others have never worked for me.When i go to ground level all the buildings do too.Can't see anything but a bunch of spots that are supposed to be buildings. I just deleted it!

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Julia! :(

  14. Anon
    February 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    no free pro version for linux... c'mon google, hook it up already!!! Maybe I'll check out Marble

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      As far as I know, it works with Wine/Crossover!

  15. Gord
    February 7, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I have downloaded the free pro version with no issues at all! I'm wondering if I should remove my basic version from my computer?
    Any thoughts on this?

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Personally speaking, I would!

  16. Janeth
    February 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Oh wow! I love to learn using Google Earth! There will be a lot of things to discover from it. But, I wonder if it can cause delayed or hang your computer? And am also hesitating to download it maybe there will be virus on it then will have to reformat my computer. Is it safe?

    • Mathew Hughes
      February 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Hey Janet,

      It's entirely legit. No viruses or anything like that. It's from Google, after all!

      Let me know how you find it!

    • Janeth
      February 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Okay, thanks a lot! Prevention is better than cure after all. ;)

  17. Ruth H
    February 6, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Confession, have just played around briefly, haven't had time to read the instructions!!! LOL

    • Mathew Hughes
      February 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Well, when you give it a proper go, let me know how you find it!

  18. Ruth H
    February 6, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I am a 78 year old granny geek. I downloaded mine on the first free day and clear instructions were given on signing on to have the key emailed to you. Why was it so easy for me? I read all the instructions first. A word to the wise.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 6, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      You remind me of my grandma! She's over 80, and she loves technology, especially her laptop and tablet! Really cool for you to comment in!

      How are you finding Google Earth Pro so far?

      And, of course, thanks for your comment!

    • Guy
      February 7, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Win! To the techno-granny Ruth H. :)

    • Janeth
      February 7, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Cool!

  19. kernmapper
    February 5, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    No one should rely on computerized parcel/property data to settle a dispute. Such property models are NEVER guaranteed to be accurate. All property disputes should begin with a boundary survey conducted by a licensed land surveyor.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      That sounds expensive. Google Earth Pro is free. ;)

    • Guy
      February 7, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Kernmapper is right.

      Fortunately, properly acquired parcel/property data from your local land registry office is the result of work done by licensed land surveyors.

      I'm not sure if Google is using a dataset from these land registry offices, but if they are, well, that's about as accurate as it gets.

      Of course, part of the accuracy depends on the age of the survey. If it was done a hundred years ago with surveying chains, compasses, and levels, it could be off by a couple inches. That's how much of the transcontinental railroads were surveyed and engineered.

      If it was done last year with GPS-enabled surveying equipment, then it could be off...by a couple inches. Well, there goes that theory. ;)

    • Land Surveyor
      February 7, 2015 at 2:02 am

      You are being short sighted. They are creating countless boundary disputes that land surveyors will be relied upon to resolve. The future looks bright!!!!

  20. Steve McWilliam
    February 5, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    It is now FREE guys. Just mail Google using their license key application form and they email you the key for free. I am in the UK.

    Steve

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Correct! You can get more details here. google-latlong.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/google-earth-pro-is-now-free.html

  21. Kaly
    February 5, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Google did not give the licence at first, and said that there was some error on their end. This happened because I'm outside the USA. At my second try with the VPN service ON, I got my free licence. ;-)

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      AFAIK, it's not region specific. I got my license for free, and I was connecting through BT; a UK ISP. No VPN involved.

      But I know their licensing server is being hammered, so I don't doubt it might fall over from time to time.

  22. Prosthetic Lips
    February 5, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    http://www.cnet.com/news/get-google-earth-pro-for-free/ has a full description. Basically, the free key is: GEPFREE.

    I haven't tried it, but I was sent the cnet.com article separately.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Brilliant. Thanks so much!

  23. Dave Firman
    February 5, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    £260 in the UK - not free.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I'm in the UK. It's free. You just need to request a free license code. google-latlong.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/google-earth-pro-is-now-free.html

  24. Jeremy
    February 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    You need to register for a license key, it's still free

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Correct. Cheers Jeremy!

  25. jorge
    February 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    what his the diference between google maps image quality and google earth pro?

    ( got my key ) https://geoauth.google.com/gev0/free_trial.html

    Sign up is no longer required for Google Earth Pro. Click here to download Earth Pro, then sign in using your email address and the License Key GEPFREE.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Quite a bit, actually.

      Thanks so much!

  26. dan
    February 5, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    It is free. You can get the license for free or use the default license key listed at the top of the registration page.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Correct. Thanks so much Dan!

  27. Dablob
    February 5, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    License key is GEPFREE

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Cheers!

  28. StaticFX
    February 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    holy crap people.. 2 seconds to google it
    https://support.google.com/earth/answer/176160?hl=en

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks so much for posting the link!

  29. Hildy J
    February 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Google Earth Pro help pages are in transition. I finally found this:

    https://geoauth.google.com/gev0/free_trial.html

    After downloading you:

    "sign in using your email address and the License Key GEPFREE."

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      Aye, Google really goosed the transition.

      Thanks so much for your comment! How are you finding Google Earth Pro?

  30. jorge
    February 5, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    How come makeuseof didin´t mention this? People are complaining about it for days...... license key .................. seriously

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Days? My piece has been online for a few hours.

  31. Jeff
    February 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Yep. Asks for a key

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Keys are free. You can get one here! google-latlong.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/google-earth-pro-is-now-free.html

  32. Hildy J
    February 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I can download it but it's asking for a license key and nothing on the help pages mentions a free version.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      They've started issuing free license keys. Read more here! google-latlong.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/google-earth-pro-is-now-free.html

  33. ghili
    February 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Does not appear to be "free." Requests License Key to open.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Yes, it's free! But you have to request a free license key. This takes a few minutes, and you then get to use Google Earth Pro for free. Cool, right?

  34. jorge
    February 5, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I cant download it...

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Hey Jorge,
      What's the issue? A downloading one, or a licensing one?
      Cheers!
      Matt

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