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  • Writer's pictureutkalsharma

How old are the Satellite Images on Google?

Updated: May 28

Have you ever wondered how old the satellite images on Google Earth and Google Maps are? Well, on average, they're between one and three years old. It takes Google a lot of time, effort, and money to purchase and process these images. Google invests heavily in acquiring and updating satellite imagery, aerial imagery, and street views to maintain the accuracy and usefulness of Google Maps and Google Earth, so Google can only update them periodically. However, the age of specific images can vary on several factors.


How old are the Satellite Images on Google Earth or Google Maps?
How old are the Satellite Images on Google Earth or Google Maps?

Did you know that Google didn't own any satellites until now (which is soon going to change with the acquisition of SkyBox)? So how do they get all those amazing images for Google Maps and Earth? Well, they rely on multiple sources to provide this incredible service.


First, Google purchases imagery from various commercial satellite operators operating Earth observation satellite fleets. Companies like Maxar Technologies, Airbus Defense and Space, and TerraMetrix are some sources Google uses to gather satellite images.


Google's recent purchase of Terra Bella, previously known as Skybox Imaging, was primarily intended to enhance its capabilities in satellite imaging and geospatial data analysis. Terra Bella focused on creating compact, high-quality imaging satellites that were specifically designed to capture very high-resolution images and videos of the Earth's surface.


In addition to these commercial sources, Google utilizes free data from government agencies like NASA and the USGS, which capture images for various scientific and research purposes. This means that Google has access to a vast satellite image database covering the entire world at different resolutions and acquisition dates.


So coming back to the main point of how old are the Google satellite images, the location plays a crucial role in determining the frequency of updates. Remote and sparsely populated areas tend to have less frequent updates as compared to densely populated or commercially significant locations. Moreover, as mentioned above, Google uses imagery from various sources, and each company has its update frequency. Technical limitations such as cloud cover or satellite availability can also affect the timeliness of image capture.



It's interesting to know that some image types, like 3D imagery or street view, might have been around longer than the usual 2D view we're accustomed to. If you're curious about a particular image, you can easily check it out on Google Earth. All you have to do is zoom in and hover your mouse over the spot, and you'll see the capture date displayed in the status bar.


If you want to know the exact age of a satellite image, you can use the "Historical Imagery" feature in Google Earth. This feature allows you to check the capture date for past versions of the image. Generally, urban areas and regions with frequent changes are updated more frequently. So, the next time you're exploring Google Earth or Maps, keep in mind that the images you're seeing may not be the most recent ones. Nevertheless, they still provide a fascinating insight into our world from above. But if you are looking for high-resolution, accurate, and up-to-date satellite imagery or aerial imagery of your area of interest, please contact us.


For more information about high-resolution satellite imagery, aerial imagery, or drone imagery, please feel free to reach us at:



USA (HQ): (720) 702–4849

India: 98260-76466 - Pradeep Shrivastava

Canada: (519) 590 9999

Mexico: 55 5941 3755

UK & Spain: +44 12358 56710



Happy satellite browsing! 🛰️🌍

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