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How often are Google Maps updated? Let's find out the date when the latest satellite image was made

Updated on Mon, 11/02/2020 - 10:42

Using the Google Maps Toolkit, you can view maps by adjusting their details. The service also allows you to switch between the "Satellite" and "Map" modes which makes it easier to focus on objects.

In this article, we'll show you how often does google maps update and how to check whether the data is precise. It can be quickly done via a service that is forgotten (or unknown) to many users – Google Earth.

Contents:

    The information on the maps can become out-of-date quite fast. Because of this, instead of the current location of houses, roads, and other objects, Google Maps provides its users with old images of the chosen area. Accordingly, it's impossible to entirely rely on the data without knowing when it was received.

    Why Google Maps 

    About a billion users use this service. The fact is that since 2005, Google Maps has become available everywhere, hence its wide popularity.

    Besides, the service is more convenient to use in comparison with its competitors: both for traveling on foot, by car or bicycle, and for doing business as well. Maps work accurately and stably. Moreover, you can use them for free and without explicit restrictions.

    The main problem with digital maps is its outdated data (for unpopular places) and uncertainty about the date when photos were taken.

    How often are Google Maps updated?

    • Map data provided by Google is updated every second: information on organisations, ratings, traffic congestion and other events. Unlike object data, the map images themselves aren't updated as frequently as users would prefer.
    • The standard interval for updating maps on Google Maps is 1-3 years. In some cases, updates occur sooner or later, depending on the location or the demand for specific data by the service users (according to statistics).
    • For map sections in high demand, the update interval can be accelerated from several years to 1 month.

    Where the Google Maps service gets its updates from

    The service has a lot of sources for updating maps:

    • the data received from the satellite
    • aerial photos and snapshots
    • data provided by Google Maps users
    • pictures of the area taken by Google employees (Google Street View project)

    In total, about 1 thousand sources are used to obtain data, including geological surveys, data from organisations and municipalities.

    Do maps change live?

    Information on maps is rarely updated in real-time.

    In some situations (major global events, emergencies), Google updates locations on its maps in real-time. For example, this can happen in cases of natural disasters: the map shows damage, accidents, places of assistance and other information that is critical at the moment.

    However, in most cases, updates occur with the planned frequency, in normal mode-once a month, six months or a year.

    How to find out the date of the last map update

    You can't do this via the Google Maps service (both via the mobile or browser version).

    However, you can install the Google Earth program instead and go to the desired location via the search bar. In the lower corner, you'll find the date when the snapshot was saved (see for a more detailed manual below).

    This is the only possible way to find out the time when the satellite data was last updated on Google maps.

    The manual

    Google Earth service uses the same data as Google Maps, so you can use this program to get the date of the last update of maps from the satellite.

    1. Go to https://www.google.com/intl/en/earth/versions/#download-pro
    2. Download and install Google Earth desktop version 
    3. Place the cursor in the search bar by opening the sidebar 
    4. Enter the name of the required location and press Enter 
    5. Wait for the location to open 
    6. The status bar will display the date when that satellite photo was taken.