Google Earth Pro is Now Free - So What do We Get?

If you have ever used Google Earth Images in your presentation, map, site plan, or in any way without using the Pro version you were breaking the law. That data is copyrighted and licensed only to pro users. In the past one Google Earth Pro license would cost you $400 (USD). Google just announced that they will let everyone use Google Earth Pro for free. Download the program, get a Pro key, install and use.

Now that you can legally use this data for free what does the Pro version give you?

Google Earth Pro Additional Features

  • High-Resolution Images
  • Regionate large datasets
  • Batch Geocode addresses
  • Import GIS data
  • Imported GIS images are Automatically Geo-located
  • Import large image files More than max texture size (Super Image Overlays)
  • Access demographic, parcel & traffic data layers
  • Create premium movies
  • Measure area of a polygon or circles
  • Map multiple points at once
  • Viewshed tool
  • Mapmaking tool
For engineering firms using Google Earth this means you get high-resolution images, geo-referenced data, measurement tools, and the ability to load GIS data. Just don;t sell the data and make sure to include all required copyright notifications. Visit Google's Geo Permissions Guidelines for more details. You may also want to review the Google Earth Licensing Agreement for specific licensing information.

If you want to know more about Google Earth Pro here is Google's FAQ.

Using Google Earth Pro will make things much easier for many people. I don't know why Google decided to make this service free. Perhaps they figured that many people were using their images and data incorrectly already so they decided to make it easier for the users to use legitimately. Will GEP remain free forever? Or is this just for a limited time? Is Google making this free only to get us addicted so that later when they change their minds and start charging again they might get more subscribers? I doubt that.

For now, get it. Use it. It's a great tool that you will find many uses for.