Google Earth also features many layers as a source for information on businesses and points of interest, as well as showcasing the contents of many communities, such as Wikipedia, Panoramio and YouTube. Google updates with new layers often. Many Google Earth layers, such as Panoramio and Google Earth Community layers, are updated daily with entries from the respective websites.

Borders and labels

Contains borders for countries/provinces and shows placemarks for cities and towns.

  • Borders: Marks international borders with a thick yellow line (borders with territorial disputes with thick red lines), 1st level administrative borders (generally provinces and states) with a lavender line, and 2nd level administrative borders (counties) with a cyan line. Coastlines appear as a thin yellow line. Displays names of countries, 1st level administrative areas, and islands.
  • Labels: Displays labels for large bodies of water, such as oceans, seas, and bays, and populated places.

Places of interest

A collection of business listings provided by many local services.


Shows many of the most relevant pictures uploaded onto Panoramio's website.


Displays available road networks. The colors and signs displayed vary depending on the type of roadway.

  • Limited-access freeways and tollways that are part of widespread networks such as the International E-road network, United States Interstate Highways and many other national road networks are represented by orange lines.
  • Other freeways are marked with pale orange lines.
  • Some roads in Japan are indigo.
  • Other important roads, generally those most travelled, highest capacity, or bearing a road number, are labeled with yellow lines.
  • All other roads are labeled white.
  • Some pedestrian walkways and private roads are signified by transparent white lines, especially when greatly resembling a road intended for public automotive traffic.

Buildings in 3D

Further information: SketchUpGoogle Building Maker, and Google 3D Warehouse

Shows many 3D computer building models in many cities, in these styles:

  • Photorealistic: Shows many buildings in a realistic style, with more complex polygons and surface images.
  • Gray: Low-detail models of city buildings designed for computers that may not have the capability of showing the photorealistic models.

Any real world building can be created for Google Earth via a number of avenues:

  • Users can create their own 3D buildings with Building Maker. This browser based tool allows users to match 'boxes' to aerial imagery of certain cities. Low learning curve resulting in lower quality 3D buildings.
  • Users can download SketchUp a 3D modeling application that allows users to create detailed digital representations of real world buildings. Provided the models meet Google's criteria, they can then be uploaded to the 3D warehouse and accepted to Google Earth
  • There are now several companies, certified by Google,[101] that provide a service creating and maintaining 3D buildings for customers. These companies generally provide high detail models.

In 2009, in a unique collaboration between Google and the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the museum selected 14 of its most important paintings to be photographed and displayed at the ultrahigh resolution of 14,000 megapixels inside the 3D version of the Prado in Google Earth and Google Maps.[102][103]

In June 2012, Google announced that it will be replacing user made 3D buildings with an auto-generated 3D mesh. This will be phased in, starting with the larger cities. The reason given is to have greater uniformity in 3D buildings, and to compete with other platforms already using the technology such as Nokia's HERE maps and Apple's iOS maps. 

Locations available with the auto-generated 3D mesh:


Cities Australia

Adelaide, Canberra, Perth Austria

Innsbruck, Linz Belgium

Mons Brazil

Brazilia, Porto Alegre Canada

Edmonton, Winnipeg France

Angers, Avignon, Bastia, Besançon, Béziers, Bourges, Colmar, Dijon, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Mulhouse, Nancy, Nîmes, Paris, Pau, Perpignan, Rennes, Valence Germany

Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Ulm Italy

Cagliari, Catania, Livorno, Messina, Modena, Naples, Oristano, Padua, Pisa, Rome (including  Vatican City), Sassari, Siena Japan

Chiba, Kanagawa, Sendai, Tokyo Mexico

Mazatlán Romania

Bucharest Spain

Baiona, Burgos, Lleida, Lugo, Manresa, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Santander, Tarragona Sweden

Malmö  Switzerland

Basel, Berne, Biel, Geneva, Lausanne, Nyon, Thun, Zurich United Kingdom

Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Reading, Telford, Wolverhampton




Cities United States




Phoenix, Prescott, Tucson


Little Rock


Anaheim, Barstow, Berkeley, Cathedral City, Chico, Corona, Crestline, Delano, Desert Hot Springs, Escondido, Fremont, Hanford, Hayward, Healdsburg, Helendale, Indio, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Madera, Merced, Modesto, Oakland, Ojai, Palm Springs, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Twentynine Palms, Yuba City


Denver, Grand Junction, Boulder


Miami, Orlando, Tampa


Athens, Atlanta, Macon


Idaho Falls, Pocatello


Chicago, Danville


Anderson, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Evansville, Kokomo, Michigan City, Plainfield, Terre Haute


Dubuque, Sioux City, Ames, Waterloo, Cedar Falls


Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita


New Orleans


Boston, Hyannis




Jefferson City, Kansas City, St Louis, Springfield,


Duluth, Mankato




Billings, Great Falls, Missoula


Boulder City, Reno

New Jersey

Bayonne, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, Union City

New Mexico

Albuquerque, Farmington, Las Cruces

New York

Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Utica

North Carolina


North Dakota

Bismarck, Grand Forks


Cincinnati, Cleveland






Philadelphia, Pittsburgh


Austin, Dallas, Houston, Killeen, Odessa, San Angelo, San Antonio, Victoria

South Dakota

Rapid City


Logan, St George, Salt Lake City






Longview, Seattle, Spokane


Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Janesville, La Crosse, Racine, Sheboygan


Casper, Cheyenne

Google Street View

Main article: Google Street View


  • Clouds – Displays cloud cover based on data from both geostationary and low Earth-orbiting satellites. The clouds appear at their calculated elevation, determined by measuring the cloud top temperature relative to surface temperature.[104]
  • Radar – Displays weather radar data provided by and Weather Services International, updating every 5–6 minutes.[104]
  • Conditions and Forecast – Displays local temperatures and weather conditions. Clicking on an indicator displays a 2 Day Forecast (Example: Monday Morning, Monday Night, Tuesday Morning, Tuesday Night) forecast provided by[104]
  • Information – Clicking Information allows users to further read up on where Google Earth gets weather information.[104]


  • Trimble Outdoor Trips: A collection of hiking trails with recordings.
  • Volcanoes
  • A collection of webcams around the world
  • YouTube: A collection of popular videos on YouTube.

Global awareness

A collection of services spreading global awareness. The layer was provided by Google Earth Outreach.


Placemarks and overlays