Google Earth vs Google Maps – What’s The Difference?

Google Earth vs Google Maps - What's The Difference

Before the invention of Google Earth and Google Maps, people used to buy road maps to help them navigate easily or find locations. But the introduction of Google Earth and Google Maps changed how we view and move around the world.

Google Maps and Google Earth are fantastic tools for learning about any location on earth. Both applications also provide high-quality photos of any location at any zoom level.

While Google Maps is a navigation app, Google Earth provides you with satellite imagery of places. To know more, let’s dig into the two apps, their features, and the major differences between the two.

Keep reading!

What is Google Maps?

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We are familiar with Google Maps as an online mapping tool that enables us to view any route at any time.

It provides real-time traffic information, street maps, 360-degree interactive panorama views of streets, satellite images, aerial photography, and route planning for travel by foot, automobile, bicycle, airplane, or public transit.

The original version of Google Maps was a desktop C++ software developed by Where 2 Technologies. Google purchased the firm, turning the maps software into a web app.

What is Google Maps Used For?

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Google Maps is a basic navigation program that can assist you in navigating from point A to point B. You can use Google Maps to identify locations to go and directions to get there as soon as possible.

The data provided by Google Maps is current and at the forefront of technology. Anyone can use it to navigate practically anywhere. Google Maps’ GPS, which can provide precise directions from any place to anywhere, is particularly effective.

Let’s imagine you wish to see the White House while on vacation in Washington DC. The application can provide walking directions from your accommodation to the point of interest.

Additionally, Google Maps has a route planner that guides travelers who intend to go by car, bicycle, foot, or public transportation from one place to another.

The Google Maps software interface (API) enables website owners to include Google Maps into a paid-for website, such as a community service or real estate portal.

Google Maps for Mobile provides drivers with a location service that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) position of the mobile device as well as information from wireless and cellular networks (if available).

Google Street View allows users to view and move around horizontal and vertical panoramic street-level photographs of cities worldwide.

What is Google Earth?

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Google Earth is digital software that creates a 3D model of the Earth, mostly using satellite images. You can view cities and landscapes from various perspectives thanks to the program’s mapping of the Earth, which layers satellite pictures, aerial photographs, and GIS data onto a 3D globe.

You can navigate the globe by inputting addresses and locations or using a keyboard or mouse. Also, you can download the application on a tablet or smartphone, where the navigation is done with a pen or touch screen.

What is Google Earth Used For?

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Google Earth is for exploration and adventure. The software provides a high-resolution 3D visualization of Google Maps satellite data. This visualization enables you to explore almost any location on the globe and get a sense of how it appears.

Google Earth has search features and the ability to pan, rotate, zoom, and tilt the Earth’s image. Furthermore, it provides tools for adding new amounts of data, such as landscapes and volcanoes, which are stored on Google’s servers and can be seen in the view.

Before you depart for a journey, it can assist you in locating nearby sites. This feature will help you know what to expect when you arrive.

The application allows people to submit their data from multiple sources, such as forums or blogs, using the Keyhole Markup Language. In addition to being a Web Map Service client, Google Earth can display numerous picture types superimposed on the Earth’s surface.

The desktop edition of Google Earth offers several useful capabilities, including a tool for measuring distance, in conjunction with Earth navigation. There are extra globes for the Mars and Moon accessible, and also a tool for observing the night sky.

Besides, there’s Google Earth Pro; this desktop version, which is currently free to use, offers a wide range of capabilities. It includes the ability to show third-party data, a growing collection of levels of mappable data, the ability to display satellite and aerial photography, tools for producing new data, and the ability to import GPS data.


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Google Earth and Google Maps feature millions of geocoded locations in over 220 countries.

Google Maps

Google Maps is made exclusively for navigation and offers voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions. You can also use it to tailor your favorite spots and get real-time information on public transit. You always take the quickest path to your destination using real-time traffic information.

Google Earth

Google Earth, on the other hand, is not intended to be a navigational tool. Instead, it’s a global exploration app.

Also Read: Best Free Weather Apps

Historical Imagery

Google Earth

Google Earth provides approximately 20 million satellite images from the last 30 years if you wish to go through historical imagery. Overall, Google Earth has more than 20 different zoom levels, making it the best for viewing historical imagery.

Its Landsat provides the sharpest imagery when viewed at a distance. However, to overlay and access all the many slices of time, use Google Earth Pro on your Desktop if you truly want to go further into historical photos.

Google Maps

Despite having satellite imagery integrated into its platform, Google Maps gives you fewer options for historical imagery. Instead, you receive the most recent, cloudless aerial shot or satellite image for your region of interest without selecting it.

Measure Distance

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Google Maps

With Google Maps, you can calculate distance without drawing out the complete route. You can estimate distance manually on mobile and desktop, whether you’re going on a jogging track that Google doesn’t cover or want to sketch out a unique route.

You can use Google Maps to find the distance between specific locations or throughout the trip. On a desktop, use the right-click menu to select Measure distance from the cursor. This establishes your starting point, and each further click creates a straight line connecting the two.

On a mobile device, you must first drop a pin while keeping your finger on the screen. Next, pick Measure distance by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

From there, you can just traverse the map as usual while using the blue addition (+) icon in the bottom right corner to add new stops as needed. However, Google only displays the overall distance, not the distances between specific places.

Also ReadBest Free Mileage Tracker Apps

Google Earth

It allows you to measure distances between sites and pathways. You can also use Google Earth to take measurements of polygons you draw.

Distance measurements might not be entirely correct in regions with 3D topography and structures. Use a top-down perspective while measuring for the most accurate results.

Finding Parking Spots

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Google Maps

Google Maps can not only help you go from point A to point B, but it can also help you find a parking spot once you are there. Check for the “P” symbol with a circle around it, along with the anticipated time it will take to get there while you check for driving directions. This will inform you whether parking is typically scarce in the area.

It might be tough to find a parking spot, particularly when you’re in a new area. Fortunately, Google Maps can assist you with that. Simply open the app and press the tiny blue location-marking dot.

The option to designate that area as a parking site should be available in a menu that appears towards the bottom of the screen.

Google Earth

Unfortunately, Google Earth doesn’t have these features.

Also ReadBest Mileage Tracker Apps Reviewed


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Google Earth

Google Earth is a valuable asset for the explorer. It allows you to open Earth and take a closer look at the environment and learn more about it. The satellite view of Google Earth offers a far higher resolution and greater detail.

It includes a full 3D rendering of the satellite data, allowing you to get a sense of the scale of the buildings and terrain of the locations you are exploring.

You can browse, zoom, and pan in any direction. Google Earth contains certain points of interest and offers Wikipedia information for locations.

Google Maps

Google Maps is more useful for locating and navigating places. It doesn’t give a good experience when it comes to exploring because some of its images are not as clear as the ones on Google Earth. Plus, you can’t tilt, pan, or zoom to the levels of Google Earth.

Google Mars and Google Moon

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Google Earth

Google Earth has an application called Google Mars, a tool for viewing imagery of the planet Mars. Google also offers a browser-based version; however, the maps in Google Earth have a far greater quality and include 3D topography, infrared photography, and elevation data.

Additionally, there are also incredibly high-resolution photographs taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera with a resolution comparable to that of Earth’s cities.

There are many high-resolution panoramic pictures from several Mars landers, including Spirit, Opportunity, and Mars Exploration Rovers. You can view these pictures similarly to Google Street View.

On the other hand, Google Moon is a function that allows you to explore the moon. It features many tours, including one for the Apollo missions, that incorporates NASA maps, movies, and Street View-style panoramas.

Google Maps

Google Maps doesn’t support the exploration of Mars or the moon.

Share Your Location

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Google Maps

There are situations when you may want to notify a friend or family member of your specific arrival time. Use Google Maps’ “share travel progress” option to make it simpler to communicate your anticipated arrival time.

The time to get there is displayed in part towards the bottom of the screen. Tap that area. Select “share travel progress” after that. You can contact whomever you want to share your whereabouts with.

In addition to the list of recommended contacts that Google will provide, you also have the option of sharing your location by email or text message.

Also, it can be challenging to pinpoint your exact location if you’re in a busy public area. In this situation, dropping a pin on Google Maps might be useful.

Simply tap and hold on to the screen to place a pin in the appropriate area. Then, using the buttons at the bottom of the screen, you can name it and share it with a friend.

Google Earth

You can, however, use Google Earth to share amazing sites with others. Therefore, you’ll need to download the URL and share it with them on their social network.


Google Maps

Google Maps has two versions that you can use on your computer:

3D Mode- this is the usual Google Maps experience. You’ll notice seamless zooming, 3D buildings, transitions, satellite photos, and more details.

2D Mode– this is suitable for older or less powerful computers. It employs basic zooming and transitions and doesn’t use WebGL or 3D pictures.

Google Earth

There are four Google Earth versions at the moment:

Google Earth Enterprise – It uses a simple, visual, and quick application to enable enterprises with images and other geospatial data to make that information accessible and valuable to decision-makers and front-line staff.

Using Google Earth technology, you can create a private globe from your organization’s geographical data. Google Earth Enterprise is maintained by enterprises and government entities in their own data centers, where sensitive information is kept behind a firewall and only accessible by authorized personnel.

Google Earth – This version includes the “Voyager” function, which allows users to access a portal page with guided tours given by documentarians and scientists.

Also, it includes an “I’m Feeling Lucky” icon that sends the user to a random spot on Earth and displays a “Knowledge Card” with a summary of that spot’s Wikipedia article.

Google Earth VR – With Google Earth VR, you can see the globe from different angles.

Google Earth Pro – The version is free for individuals who want advanced features. It is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. GIS data can be imported and exported, and historical images can be seen.

Places You Visited

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Google Maps

Google Maps keeps a history of the places you visit, which you can view using the app’s timeline function. To achieve this, launch the Google Maps app, and choose “Your timeline” from the menu that appears towards the top of the screen.

The places you visited on that day will appear in a list and on a map when you hit the calendar icon after that and choose a date.

Google Earth

Google Earth doesn’t provide this kind of function.

Download Maps to Use Offline

Google Maps

There’s a chance that you won’t always have access to dependable internet connectivity if you’re traveling through a remote location. Google lets you download maps of certain regions so you can see them without a WiFi or data connection.

To accomplish this, look up the location you want to download. Now, tap the “download” button that is located just above the “directions” button at the bottom of the screen by swiping it over.

If this option isn’t available, look for the area, click the vertical-lines symbol to open the menu, then select “offline maps” before selecting “custom map.” Remember that traffic information won’t be accessible. There will be only driving directions.

Google Earth

Like Google Maps, Google Earth will also allow you to save the map and use it without an internet connection. However, you need to have Google Earth Pro to do that.

Google Earth vs Google Maps: Pros and Cons

Google Earth


  • It is free to use.
  • You can access it on a variety of devices.
  • The information and the map are always updated.
  • It has 3D viewing capabilities for buildings and landscapes.
  • Google Earth allows users to “visit” particular buildings.
  • It can give you historical imagery.
  • With the help of its API, it allows you to integrate the tool into your website.


  • High bandwidth is necessary for optimal performance.
  • Certain places have low resolution.
  • Internet access is necessary to use the app.
  • Not all regions of the world are covered; some are off-limits.
  • On maps, less developed nations are not well represented.

Google Maps

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  • Google Maps offers a variety of map displays that you can choose from.
  • You can use a customized map of any area, complete with place markers, lines, and shapes, and save it to your Google account.
  • Google Maps can offer extra information about the location you’re interested in, such as the amount of traffic currently in the area or any ongoing road construction.
  • It is free to use.
  • You’ll easily use Google Maps because of its user-friendly interface.
  • It has GPS voice guidance for walking, cycling, and driving.
  • For the best route, use real-time traffic updates, incident reports, and automated rerouting.
  • It comes with detailed information on over 100 million locations.
  • You can share Maps with friends and coworkers.
  • With Google’s Street View feature, you can view homes, businesses, and sites of interest from the perspective of a moving car.


  • Some of the information is outdated.
  • It has some places where the quality of the resolution is poor.
  • Not all places are covered on the map.
  • You must be on the internet to use it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Google Earth in real-time?

Google Earth offers a broad range of imagery, including aerial, 3D, satellite, and Street View pictures. Images are gathered over time from providers and networks. You won’t be able to view real-time changes in the images.

Can you block your house on Google Maps?

All you have to do is look up your address, go into Street View, click “report a problem,” and select “Blur my home.”

Do military bases appear on Google Earth?

The United States Department of Defense prohibited Google from photographing military bases for its Street View feature on Google Maps.

What is the difference between Google Earth and Google Earth Pro?

Google Earth allows you to print photographs in screen quality, but Google Earth Pro provides premium, high-resolution shots. Google Earth needs you to physically geo-locate geographic information system (GIS) photos, but Google Earth Pro helps you discover them automatically.

Is Google Earth accessible without downloading?

It is really easy to use Google Earth on your browser. It’s fantastic since there’s no need to download anything and it works on any computer.

Can Google Earth show my home?

Google Earth will take you to your area and show you where your home is. To use Street View and see your property up close, drag the Pegman symbol. To move between a Street view of your home, press the top-right button.

Is it possible to go inside buildings using Google Earth?

With indoor maps, you can simply zoom in and out of a building and navigate from floor to floor. To view a building’s interior floor plan, zoom in. Once you’ve fully zoomed in, you may also search inside the building. To change floors in the building, use the level changer in the lower right corner.

Wrap Up

The two apps are quite similar. Users often get confused what purpose does each of these apps serve. By now, you would have a good idea of what is what.

Besides reading this article, another way to understand the difference between the two is to use them for a few days.

In any case, both Google Earth and Google Maps are great at what they do.