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A Comparison of Google Earth 5.0 with Google Earth Pro 5.0

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and a GIS program that offers users access to world-wide imagery, and a large number of location-based layers. Google Earth Pro is a commercial-oriented $400 annual upgrade to Google Earth that offers additional features such as GIS data imports and advanced printing and saving modules. The enhanced features provide users with a number of additional tools such as the ability to convert GIS data, such as Shapefiles, into KML files. This document highlights the differences between both products.

Geographical Content


Google Earth Google Earth Pro
Geographical content is identical in both versions


The imagery and layer content resources are identical in both products. This includes image quality and currency, as well as all of the features available within the Primary Database.


New to version 5.0, is the Ocean Layer, featuring a number of ocean-related explorations. Users can view photographs and videos of the deep ocean, discover shipwrecks, and learn about marine life.


Also new to 5.0 is the ability to go back in time and view historical imagery of particular geographical areas. A new clock button in the toolbar toggles a timeline controller that enables users to seamlessly view all imagery that is available for the area in the view’s extent.


Google Mars is the last of the newest additions, where high resolution satellite imagery (HiRISE imaging system) and 3D terrain of Mars replaces Earth. The layers available include Rovers and Landers, 3D Models, Terrains and more. Users gain a unique perspective of the planet, travelling through the eyes of the Mars rovers and other missions.


Geographical Content

Google Earth Google Earth Pro
- Google Earth (KML, KMZ)- Google Earth (KML, KMZ)
- GPS (.gpx, .loc)- GPS (.gpx, .loc, .mps)
- Imagery (GeoTiff, .ntf, .img)
- ESRI (.shp)
- MapInfo (.tab)
- Microstation (.dgn)
- US Census Tiger Line (.rt1)


Geospatial files can be opened in Google Earth Pro from the File Menu, or they can be dragged onto the screen.


When working with GeoTiff images in Google Earth Pro, ensure the image has a defined projection otherwise the spatial coordinates will not be recognized.

All geospatial files can be converted into KML format in Google Earth Pro by right clicking on the layer and selecting ‘Save Place As’.


Other Data Imports

Google Earth Google Earth Pro
- Images (jpg, tif, png, gif)- Images (jpg, tif, png, gif)
- Text (.txt, .csv)
- GPS data imports for Magellan and Garmin


Images may be imported and georeferenced by importing the image as an "image overlay" from the ADD menu.

Tabular data in text format may be imported and geocoded by address or latitude/longitude in Google Earth Pro. Up to 2500 records. This is done by opening the table from the FILE menu.

All imported images and tabular files can be converted into KML format in Google Earth Pro

Mapping Tools

Google Earth Google Earth Pro
- Drawing tools- Drawing tools
- Ruler – Measure Distances- Ruler – Measure Distances including Areas of polygons
- Open Attribute Table


Drawing tools include creating points, lines, and polygons.


Attribute table may be sorted by ascending or descending order but does not support other queries. The table can be accessed from the Tool menu in Google Earth Pro.


The ruler is available from the row of icons at the top of the screen.


Screen Print and Save

Google Earth Google Earth Pro
- Prints lower quality images- Prints higher quality images
(1000 pixels)(4800 pixels)
- Saves lower quality jpg images- Saves higher quality jpg images
(1000 pixels)(4800 pixels)


Both printing and saving functions can be found from the File menu.


Additional Features in Google Earth Pro

Movie Maker

The Movie Maker feature records real-time interaction with the 3D viewer imagery and saves it as a movie file. A similar features is available in Google Earth, but the file may only be saved as a kml.

Traffic Counts

For an additional $200, the Google Earth Pro user may subscribe to access traffic counts on US Interstates and highways nationwide and on major and residential roads in major metropolitan areas.


Besides offering support from their website, Google Earth Pro subscribers have also support available via email.

- Published February, 2009

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