Despite the Name, Google Earth Pro Is Actually Free. Here’s How It’s Different from the Free Version

Almost everything tagged Pro requires some sort of payment from the user. However, that’s not the case with Google Earth Pro. Well, at least, it wasn’t always the case. The Pro version of Google Earth used to cost more than $300 but all that changed in 2015 when Google announced they were making the application available for no cost at all.

Why the change of heart?

Google Earth Pro was mainly used by businesses for its advanced tools. These tools allowed them to measure buildings, print images in high resolution for use in reports, and record HD movies of virtual flights made around the world.

2015 was the year that Google decided everyone should get in on the fun. With the tool now free, everyone from building planners to trip makers can take advantage of Pro’s advanced tools to easily visualize what they want to do.

Google Earth vs Google Earth Pro

What sets apart a Pro version of a product from its non-Pro counterpart? They offer exactly the same thing but the paid variety often bundles in some advanced features. If Google Earth allowed screen resolution images to be printed, then the Pro version offered premium high-resolution photos. The free package allowed image files to be imported but only up to the max texture size; Pro allowed users to upload bigger sized files.

With Google Earth Pro, users can use advanced GIS data importing features; measure area, circumference, and radius on the ground (useful when planning); print screenshots in high resolution; and create movies for sharing.

Google Earth Pro Applications

One of the more impressive features that Google Pro had was its demographic information. It allowed users to find out the age, gender, income, and education of a population of any US state. This kind of information was particularly useful for businesses conducting market research. It basically allowed them to determine whether or not they could set up an office in a certain location based on the information given to them by Pro. However, this feature was scrapped in 2016. Despite the elimination of this feature, Pro still has others to offer.

A geological software company called RockWare takes field measurements from the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in order to figure out what causes the tilts of rock formations. The data they collect are put into Google Earth Pro to create 3D visuals which they then share with clients.

Organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute (concerned with the preservation of African great apes as well as their habitat) uses Pro’s mapping tools to monitor forests and natural resources in order to design, implement, measure, and monitor the success of their conservation actions.

Google Earth Pro Compatibility

Google Earth Pro is available on major platforms. Here are the specific requirements:

  • Windows – XP, Vista, Windows 7 or later
  • Mac – OS X 10.6.0 or newer
  • Linux – needs Linux Standard Base libraries version 4.1

Google Earth Pro has been useful for businesses for many years and now, anyone can take advantage of the advanced tools it provides. But if you’re just interested in the general view of things, you can choose between Google Earth and Google Street View.

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