So What’s the Deal with Google Earth?

Overall, Google Earth is an excellent tool that will give you an aerial view of just about anywhere in the world. We even use it here at Shore Aerial to prep for photo missions to unfamiliar areas. Just be mindful of the date of the image, the angle of the shot and the purpose of the picture.  Here are some of the differences.

Images can be outdated: Google Earth images are generally 1-3 years old depending upon the location. Well known locations, like NYC for example, are updated much more frequently by Google Earth than other areas. At the bottom of your Google Earth image, you can find the date of your image along with the latitude & longitude of your location.

Quality: Although the quality of a Google Earth image may look appealing on a computer screen, the same image would look horrible as a framed 8 x 10 picture hanging in your living room. On the other hand, aerial photographs are pristine high resolution pics of just your project that are intended to be blown up large and displayed. The reason for the quality difference is because Google Earth images are taken from thousands of feet above ground level, whereas, aerial pics are usually taken from 1000 feet above ground level.

Angle: Most experienced aerial photographers will take what is called “oblique” aerial photos. This basically means that the shots are taken at a 45 degree angle in relation to subject being photographed. This is what you are paying an aerial photographer for because it gives dimension to your project. The opposite can be said of Google Earth images. Those images are taken straight down which allows for excellent rooftop views but not much of the front and sides.

Clarity: Aerial photographers monitor the weather closely so that the conditions and position of the sun are ideal for producing a clear shot. If the weather is not close to ideal, the aerial photographer can simply schedule the flight for a better day. However, Google Earth images are taken without regard to weather which is why some Google Earth images look better than others. If you play around with Google Earth, you will see that some images are cloudy and others have dark shadows.

Remember if you are looking for real time photographs that can be used as focal points for your home, business or marketing……use an aerial photographer. For everything else, use Google Earth…’s free.



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