US$399 Google Earth Pro for businesses now completely free

4 Feb 2015

Google Earth Pro, software used by most businesses as their go-to mapping software, is now being offered completely free, having previously cost as much as US$399 (€350).

The application, which has essentially been superseded by the more accessible Google Maps service, was first launched as long ago as 2001 and was for many years popular with amateur cartographers, photographers and businesses because it offered arguably the most comprehensive mapping of our planet, outside of incredibly expensive satellite imaging only available to researchers.

Now, Google has decided to launch the Pro version of its Earth service completely free for the first time, as found by The Fuse Joplin.

Compared with the existing free version, users can print 4K images of a resolution of 4,800 x 3,200 pixels as opposed to just the standard 1,000 x 1,000 pixels, with the added ability to add a legend to the map, most likely to be used by businesses.

A 3D-rendered image of Dublin city centre using Google Earth Pro

The Pro version also lets businesses, and marketing people in particular, translate reams of customer address information to chart where they are based so as to get a better topographical understanding of where their busiest areas are located and draw plans from those.

Google Earth Pro can even capture video in 720p resolution using Windows Movie Maker, which can chart the movement from one location to another for presentations.

Perhaps the most noticeable features are Google Earth Pro’s ability to capture not just a bird’s eye view of a location, but also quite accurately measure an object’s height and render it as a 3D image, and its ability to better judge distances through routes, rather than just between two selected points.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic