How Often Is Google Earth Updated?

Dean Sherwin 15-02-2010

how often is Google Earth updatedWhen the original Earth program was re-launched in 2005 under the Google brand, there was a lot of interest in it. Being able to view satellite imagery of pretty much anywhere in the world was cool.


However, as time went on, I think we all noticed that buildings in our areas which were knocked down years ago still appeared in the program.

As it happened, Google Earth How to Get a Satellite View of Your House Using Google Earth Want to go beyond Google Earth's satellite view of your house? Take advantage of Google Earth's high-definition satellite images. Read More wasn’t updated instantly, so despite what YouTube videos would have you believe, you can’t spy on your neighbours or track the movement of Chinese naval vessels.

So just how often is Google Earth updated? Well, that depends on a few variables.


As with all mainstream software programs, Google Earth aims to serve the masses. Thus, they invest their funding into keeping the most frequently searched and viewed areas updated. This variable is the most definitive in how often an area is updated in Google Earth.


how often is Google Earth updated

So for example, New York will be updated quite regularly and in high detail using low flying aircraft to get good resolution imagery. They may also add an extra layer to popular locations which makes prominent buildings 3D. You can see this in the image above.

On the other side of the same coin, in answer to the question how often is Google Earth updated, you can bet your life savings that the imagery of the remote Irish countryside or Russian mountain ranges are still in very low resolution and have never been updated from their original state.


Another reason location might come into play is for security reasons. Sensitive military bases and installations are often blurred and not updated by Google when requested by world governments. Area 51 in the Nevada desert is one which springs to mind, and the Royal Stables at The Hague in The Netherlands is another, as seen below.


how often is Google Earth updated

Also, Google may cease updating a certain area if they get wind of their imagery being used for military intelligence or crime. For example, Hamas have been rumoured to use Google Earth to pinpoint rocket strikes at Israel from the Gaza strip.

Finally, “˜no fly’ zones and conflict zones won’t be updated with high resolution pictures from aircraft because it’s not allowed for security reasons. For example, you won’t be able to find detailed imagery of Southern Afghanistan or Iraqi mountains due to the current conflicts. All you’ll get are old, blurry satellite images.

Google is sensitive as to how their software is used, as any company would be, and have taken action to prevent it being used in malicious ways.


The Time Factor in Determining How Often Google Earth is Updated

As I’ve referred to in the above paragraphs, the low level, high resolution imagery on Google Earth, such as that of cities and infrastructure is not done by satellites as many people believe. When you zoom in on Google Earth, to the point where you can see your car very clearly parked on your driveway, then that’s the work of aerial photography 5 Useful Websites for Photographers Read More . If however, your house is a barely discernible brown blob amidst a landscape of psychedelic blurs, then that’s the work of a satellite suspended above the Equator.

Obviously, it takes time for these aircraft to run those photography update missions. They are also run by a number of private companies, not by Google itself, so getting all these images pieced together takes even more time. Finally, the databases cannot be updated until a new version of Google Earth is released which happens every few months. Thus, it takes more time.

On average, imagery of an area is updated every 1-3 years. Some areas are updated more regularly, others have never been updated. It all boils down to where you live and how important Google reckons it is that your area is given fresh images. Most urban areas will have been updated at least once since 2005.

What about your area on Google Earth?  Is it regularly updated or are you just a big blurry blob?  Let us know in the comments.


Explore more about: Geotagging, Google, Google Earth, Google Maps.

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  1. Neil
    November 5, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    According to the Google Imaging folks, you can request an imagery update of an area by showing it on the screen and clicking Help > Send Feedback and telling them what you want. No guarantees, though.

  2. Gayle Schoville
    June 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Living on the Big Island of Hawaii, it would be nice to have an update since the lava flow. Many areas are gone, streets have changed or have disappeared. So have many beaches, parks and homes.

  3. John Weaver
    December 22, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I have Google Earth Pro. However, the street/ground view imagery is still of 2003. I live on a large housing estate near the centre of Bridgend town in South Wales, so not in the backwoods or near a high security location. After 15 years, I would have expected an update. Any advice?

  4. Tommy Wilson
    August 29, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    And the area close to Tuscaloosa Alabama has not been updated since 2013.

  5. anonymous
    May 21, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Well google maps needs to be updated because I was looking for Puterko's Family Pizzeria and the photo on google maps looks nothing like what the family pizzeria looks like now. Puterko's family pizzeria is a new restaurant and if you look it up I would not look at it on google maps!

  6. Jamie hutchison
    March 29, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I have not seen an update of the Glasgow Missouri area.. I would love to see an update of this area because I have owned it for 5 years now and would love to see the changes that has perspired..

  7. Deb
    February 8, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Our place in Texas hasn't been updated for over 5 years.

  8. Yusif
    January 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Ismayilli,Azerbaijan has not updated never.The satellite view related 2005.

  9. Jack
    October 18, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Our place in South Australia hasn't been updated for some five years or more. Still blurred.

  10. ALijah
    September 29, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I live in the suburbs of powder springs ,Georgia and it hasnt been updated in around 5 to 9 years

  11. Fran
    September 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I live in a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, around 30 kms' distance. I'm surprised to see my little town get updated on a fairly regular basis. I am aware of at least 3 times, the most recent being sometime after July 15th, 2016 after we had our windows changed. The leaves are still on the trees and very green, so it was before autumn.

  12. Bev
    September 10, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Saskatchewan, Canada has not been updated for approximately 8-10 years. On google earth the 4 lane highway is not open yet and that has been done now for at least 9 years! An update would be appreciated although I realize we are not a highly populated area.

    • M
      October 23, 2017 at 5:24 am

      Totally agree!!!!! Saskatchewan needs an update!!

    • M
      October 23, 2017 at 5:26 am

      Totally agree on Bevs comment about Saskatchewan!! Our province definitely needs an update!!

  13. Se
    September 3, 2017 at 12:45 am

    London , ilford area needs a good update. Its way to blurry

  14. Pat dpz
    August 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Our city, legazpi city Albay have not been updated for 3 years and half of the city have imagery which is 10 years old. I would like to know how to, atleast call the attention of those who updates satellite imagery, I mean top view satellite imagery.

  15. Bob Guiliano
    July 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    I have checked our house and our little store and the picture are over six years old. Nothing updated. This good for general use

  16. Gareth Faulkner
    June 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I would like to see 3D imagery in Ashford and suburban areas. I notice you have one or two buildings in 3D but not much else. Maidstone is covered and so is Canterbury it seems, are Ashford & Folkestone due for this conversion or will it stay 2D?

  17. Alison
    February 15, 2017 at 12:40 am

    My area has not updated for more than 5 years! Is there any way to prompt an update?

  18. Jason James
    January 21, 2017 at 3:39 am

    We were updated in the last 3-5 years. Thanks Google ;)

  19. Heather
    January 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    My house was last photographed in 2009. It's 110 years old. It is now 2017, and anytime anyone looks my house up, they're shocked by what a dump it is. In the last 5 years since I bought it, it has become a wonderful, landscaped home. Online, it looks like the unibomber lives in it. There's really nothing I've been able to do but hope people don't like me for my house.

  20. Rob
    December 4, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I was looking at up and coming communities in Hudson Florida and all I see is sand when there are houses for sale. I'm curious if real estate is real or fake but last update there was feb 2008.

  21. Julia
    November 30, 2016 at 4:44 am

    In Sahuarita, AZ, many houses have been built and one of the middle schools has added fake grass. This was at least 4 years ago! I have moved since then but have visited the area so I know what it looks like. Google should update the images there. Also, a vacant lot is shown next to a super market which has been filled since the .

  22. Joe Swanson
    October 5, 2016 at 8:52 pm


  23. Nancy M
    September 15, 2016 at 7:08 am

    This is September 2016 and our zip code 99676 has not been updated in 10 years!. It is a very
    picturesque area and we would like it updated.

  24. Chris D
    September 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    The picture of my farm in Somerset, England is pretty good, but is six years old and they've named it wrong as it shares the same postcode as the farm next to mine. I realise that big cities and more heavily populated areas need updating more often, but countryside areas need to be kept up to date as well, and named correctly.

  25. Anonymous
    August 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    My neighborhood hasn't been updated since 2012, a real bummer.

  26. J L
    May 29, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Imagery for my home is 4 years old. (Chino Valley, AZ)

    • Julia
      November 30, 2016 at 4:45 am

      Same for Sahuarita, AZ

  27. Anonymous
    July 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    One distorted and blurred area near us is The Broken Horn, a saddlery and horse tack store. I can't imagine why an establishment like this would be blurred out! Most users like to see our relatives homes, such as where did Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed move to when they retired to Florida, or look at our elementary school back east. Few of us of the general users want to look at Area 51 any more. Come to think of it, if it is an innocuous army base, why is it blurred out?

    • Anonymous
      April 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      It isn't blurred out.

  28. Anonymous
    June 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I live in a subdivision in Madison, North Carolina... hasn't been updated since 2008. Google Earth view is way obsolete... nearly half of the houses in the area aren't shown. My address is tagged to the wrong house.

  29. Donnie McIntosh
    April 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    My address 39618 Twin Lakes RD Menahga, MN 56464 is located about
    A quarter mile east of where it actually is on Google Earth.

  30. Linda
    March 14, 2015 at 5:14 am

    looks like at least 7 years for me. Alaska wilderness.

  31. Fran
    February 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    My house in the Nevada desert hasn't been updated for over five years!

  32. Patricia Foster-Bissonnette
    January 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Marquette michigan hasn't been updated since 2005 so when I'm researching vacation stops I assume they haven't been updated since 2005. I now use a map atlas since they update every year.

  33. tyler
    January 25, 2015 at 1:13 am

    they need to update Alabama

    • Fortina
      February 2, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Alabama first needs to be brought into the 21st Century.

  34. John Stewart
    April 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I live in a small village called Hochstetten in south west Germany. A foot bridge over the local main road was opened in 2003 but the current Google Earth image of our village does not show the bridge. So, the current image is at least seven years old - quite out of date it would seem.

  35. Bernard Cooper
    March 23, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I see that you have Wrexham UK as in 'Clwyd'. The county of Clwyd was abolished some ten years ago and Wrexham is a County Borough (Unitary ~Authority).

  36. Saba Kamran
    March 22, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Great article!! I'm a fan of makeuseof.. :) I'm just a blob coz im from Pakistan. :p

  37. AJ
    March 11, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I have a place in Bulgaria, start build was 2006, still just a big field, looking forward to a new look


  38. Bernd
    February 22, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I live in my house (in Germany) since 8 years and still the area is urban in google. According to your report I am at a very remote place. But that is not true.

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 4:02 am

      What is the population of your area? Maybe not many people there use Google Earth (if it;s an older demographic) so there isn't demand despite it being an urban area?

      Or maybe Google just haven't got around to it yet. In such large operations, there will always be places over looked unfortunately.

      - Dean.

  39. Tintent
    February 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I've always found this a little strange. I live in a little town in SE Scotland. Google has never given us a picture we could make anything of. It's a satellite image, so has the "landscape of psychedelic blurs" you describe above but to add further insult, the picture was taken on a cloudy day!!!

    For years us locals had a theory that the lack of definition had something to do with the Nuclear Power Station just two minutes down the road. This theory was then blown apart by that other large American computer company who produced an aerial image I can almost read my number plate on (and that's when the car's parked outside the power station!).

    I guess we're just really boring!!

  40. FoxtrotRU
    February 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Very nice article!
    Always thought that Google update images depending on total views, search and zooms of areas.
    For me though it is very strange that one picture of Baikal Lake in Russia has never been updated - you can see something like a shoe lace on it 82 km long and 2km wide ;) 109,1025377866271E 53,85331381911297N

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 4:00 am

      Theres loads of places all over Russia and China which are never updated. Many people think it; because they have unreported submarines or installations there and their governments told them to 'stay away'. And Google does have to tread lightly. They're already backing out of China it would seem due to censorship, the last thing they need is to annoy the Kremlin.

      Anyway, I'd say it just because the areas are too remote and all these images which arouse suspicious are just shadows, ridges etc...

      - Dean.

  41. Bob H
    February 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

    My brother lives in the state of Washington and his subdivision used to be on Google Earth, but the current picture reverted to a pre-subdivision bulldozed piece of ground over three years ago and has never returned. The "Historical Imagery" feature now available allows him to go back to when GE did show his house, but the current view shows nothing at all. Attempts to bring this to the attention of GE via their web site have been to no avail.

  42. Dustin Harper
    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 am

    My town is fairly small, but it has been updated at least within the past 4-5 years. Not that great, but a lot better than I expected. Street view is funny, though. My town is considered a "gas station town"... And, that's exactly what the Google car did. Pulled into town, got gas, and left. :)

    I do notice that some high security areas (missile complexes, nuclear enrichment facilities, secret experiment area... Not too secret to locals, but supposed to be) aren't blurry. Probably because they don't show anything... Hanford, WA (nuclear fuel for weapons); Umatilla, OR (chemical weapons storage); NIKE missiles, Boeing test area for UAV's, bombing range, etc.... Not new images, but somewhat recent.

    Of course, I'm not sure about the accuracy. My brother in law's grass was green... Not sure if that was in this century or last.... :D

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 3:56 am


      From researching the topic, and trust me its a VERY grey area, Google only seem to distort images which could be used aggressively by others especially paramilitaries and terrorists.

      Arial images of things such as testing sites could easily be gotten my your or I by building a $250 homemade UAV or aerial photography balloon like those made by MIT.

      So I think they only blur the really sensitive areas.


  43. Radhika
    February 16, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Google Earth loosing importance,,,not updating

  44. Ylod Sean
    February 16, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Well it would be impossible, even for Google, to offer fresh images of every corner of the world. It makes sense to update more frequently the high searched areas, like New York

  45. DeLarge
    February 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    My city (Monterrey, Mexico) just got street view, meaning a great update on maps and google earth. Google earth history feature shows updates every 2-3 years, average, not bad for a non-US City.

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 3:53 am

      I'm still waiting for Street View to come to Dublin. Will be cool.

      Although I've used it to show relatives places they used to live when they were in the US. It's a really cool feature. Let;s hope Google keep expanding it!

      - Dean.

  46. Ian
    February 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Google has the only photographs of Arkansas, period, so I guess I can't complain too much.

  47. Peret
    February 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    A friend and I were playing around with GOogle Earth one night and looking for our homes....obviously done by a car driving by. Followed the camera pics down my road, until they got to the intersection just before my home...literally I could stand in my yard and throw a stone and hit the traffic light... instead of following the main road past my house, they hooked a left, and went off into the back remote area....and came out on the other side of my home and continued on the main road. I felt so gyped... they went right around my home!!!! I'm not there!

  48. D
    February 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    When indulging a curious moment, I was using google earth around the beverly hills area. How much do some celebrities pay to have google earth blur their estates? There were some that were definitely being blurred to the general public. Can't say I don't blame them. is eerie. They get down to street level and take a picture of your neighborhood. They don't specify which house is a specific address so I onl;y hope I don't live across the street someone is looking for!

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 3:50 am

      I've never heard of celebrities paying to have their estates blurred. Bu I guess it makes sense - they wouldn't want the tabloids etc... having a birds eye view of their property and what they own etc...


      Thanks D!

  49. Jonas
    February 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Very good article :) Can I translate it into French for my blog ( ?

    • Dean Sherwin
      February 23, 2010 at 3:51 am

      Hi Jonas,

      MUO policy is to not allow reprints of articles. However, if you wish to have it reviewed on a case basis if you think you site will bring traffic, I suggest contacting Aibek, Mark or Jackson.


  50. Nick
    February 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    My house doesn't even exist according to Google Earth. The dirt lot is shown, but the house itself is nowhere to be seen. But, my house was only built two years ago, so I guess it makes sense :P

    • prattmic
      February 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Half of my neighborhood isn't even built in my image. Google Earth says it is from Feb 2002, which sounds about right.

  51. JK III
    February 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

    1 to 3 years! Now suddenly Google Earth seems less fun :(