We are excited to announce that we are open-sourcing Google Earth Enterprise (GEE), the enterprise product that allows developers to build and host their own private maps and 3D globes. With this release, GEE Fusion, GEE Server, and GEE Portable Server source code (all 470,000+ lines!) will be published on GitHub under the Apache2 license in March.
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Originally launched in 2006, Google Earth Enterprise provides customers the ability to build and host private, on-premise versions of Google Earth and Google Maps. In March 2015, we announced the deprecation of the product and the end of all sales. To provide ample time for customers to transition, we have provided a two year maintenance period ending on March 22, 2017. During this maintenance period, product updates have been regularly shipped and technical support has been available to licensed customers.

Feedback is important to us and we’ve heard from our customers that GEE remains in-use in mission-critical applications. Many customers have not transitioned to other technologies. Open-sourcing GEE allows our customer community to continue to improve and evolve the project in perpetuity. Note that the implementations for Google Earth Enterprise Client, Google Maps JavaScript® API V3 and Google Earth API will not be open sourced. The Enterprise Client will continue to be made available and updated. However, 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.

We’re thankful for the help of our GEE partners in preparing the codebase to be migrated to GitHub. It’s a lot of work and we cannot do it without them. It is our hope that their passion for GEE and GEE customers will serve to lead the project into its next chapter.

Looking forward, GEE customers can use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) instead of legacy on-premises enterprise servers to run their GEE instances. 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).

Moreover, GCP is increasingly used as a source for geospatial data. Google’s Earth Engine has made available over a petabyte of raster datasets which are readily accessible and available to the public on Google Cloud Storage. Additionally, Google uses Cloud Storage to provide data to customers who purchase Google Imagery today. Having access to massive amounts of geospatial data, on the same platform as your flexible compute and storage, makes generating high quality Google Earth Enterprise Databases and Portables easier and faster than ever.

We will 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. We are excited about the possibilities that open-sourcing enables, and we trust this is good news for our community. We will be sharing more information when we launch the code in March on GitHub. For general product information, visit the Google Earth Enterprise Help Center. Review the essential and advanced training for how to use Google Earth Enterprise, or learn more about the benefits of Google Cloud Platform.