Google Open Sources Earth Enterprise
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Tuesday, 04 April 2017

Google has made its Google Earth Enterprise open source. Earth Enterprise was Google's product for businesses that wanted to create their own private geospatial apps rather than use Google Earth and Maps. The commercial service was shut down last month. 

Developers will now be able to use Google Earth Enterprise to develop apps to manage geospatial datasets.  The announcement of the move to open source means that Google Earth Enterprise Fusion, Server and Portable Server are all now available on GitHub under the Apache 2 license. Some parts of the original commercial product, specifically the Enterprise Client, Google Maps JavaScript API V3, and the Google Earth API, are not being open sourced. Google is continuing work on the Enterprise Client.




The move to open source seems partially to have been prompted by the continued use of Google Earth Enterprise by existing customers. The decision to discontinue Google Earth Enterprise was made back in 2015, when Google stopped charging customers for its use, and made Google Earth Pro free. Google expected customers would move to alternative products, but many have continued to use the free version.

The hope seems to be that customers will at least move their data and apps to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), but this isn't a requirement. Google says:

"For many customers, GCP provides a scalable and affordable infrastructure as a service where they can securely run GEE. Other GEE customers will be able to continue to operate the software in disconnected environments. However, we believe that the advantages of incorporating even some of the workloads on GCP will become apparent (such as processing large imagery or terrain assets on GCP that can be downloaded and brought to internal networks, or standing up user-facing Portable Globe Factories)."

Google says it will also be sharing a series of white papers and other technical resources to make it:

"as frictionless as possible to get open source GEE up and running on Google Cloud Platform."

Regarding the open source software, Google says that:

"Since GEE Fusion and GEE Server are being open-sourced, the imagery and terrain quadtree implementations used in these products will allow third-party developers to build viewers that can consume GEE Server Databases."




More Information

Google Earth Enterprise Site

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