Google Maps vs Google Earth: Ultimate Comparison Guide in 2024
- Updated on: December 2, 2023
Google Earth and Google Maps have become part of our daily routine to find and explore new places. However, there is still a burning question that many people don’t know the answer to: which is better, Google Maps or Google Earth? And this has led to the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison. Well in this article we will be comparing Google Maps vs. Google Earth, and try to determine which one is better.
Maps have been used for centuries for navigating around the earth. However, with the introduction of Google Earth in 2001, navigating around the earth changed into a streamlined process that could be accessible to anyone. Furthermore, with the introduction of Google Maps in 2005, it has now become second nature to refer to Google Maps before going somewhere new, and this has prompted the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison.
So before we dive into the main topic of Google Maps vs. Google Earth, let’s take a look at each of these services separately, and see what they are used for.
What is Google Earth?
Firstly, let’s take a look at Google Earth, in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison.
Google Earth is a website that was released in 2001 that allows people to view the earth’s surface in 3D through the use of satellite imagery, aerial photography, and GIS data. As a result, users of Google Earth are able to see cities, sceneries, landscapes, from various angles, and exactly how they appear in real life at a particular time.
Google Earth came up and revolutionized navigation (driving, commuting, travelling, etc.) because it eliminated the need for a physical map. Furthermore, because of its electronic nature, users are able to get more accurate information about getting to a certain place from Google Earth rather than a physical map.
Uses of Google Earth
For quite some time, Google Earth was used as a tool for navigation. However, with the introduction of Google Maps, Google Earth has taken a back seat in the navigation department and has instead become more of an exploration tool, and this also created the Google Maps vs. Google Earth debate.
Therefore, Google Earth is mostly used by explorers who want to get an idea of what a particular location looks like. Furthermore, users can use Google Earth to explore the whole globe by either:
- Using a mouse or keyboard
- Typing in an address
If you ever wanted to explore a certain country or a certain location, you can use Google Earth to explore these places in a great amount of detail. For example, if someone wanted to see the pyramids of Egypt but doesn’t have the time or funds to undertake such a trip, he/she can go on to Google Earth and explore the pyramids as if this person was actually there. It may not be as good as the real thing, but it’s the next best thing!
Now that we have covered Google Earth in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth article, let’s take a look at Google Maps.
What is Google Maps
If Google Earth revolutionized navigation and exploration, then Google Maps was the tool that made it streamlined and accessible to everyone. Using Google Maps before going out somewhere has become a staple habit for many people, including us. Moreover, after some time, people began to compare Google Maps vs. Google Earth to find out which platform was better.
Google Maps is a web-based map provider that enables users to view roads, routes, destinations, etc. of any place on earth on a simple and easy-to-understand map, and that’s just the base feature of Google Maps. In addition, Google Maps also offers:
- Navigation and Route Planning (Car, Walking or Public Transport)
- Address or Location Marking
- Distance Measurement
- Satellite Imagery
- Real-Time Traffic Conditions
- Interactive Street View
- Terrain, Transit, and Biking Layers
Uses of Google Maps
The main draw of Google Maps, which gives it an edge in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, is its GPS feature which can guide you to any destination in the world, from your point of origin, through accurate directions. Furthermore, Google Maps can be used by pretty much anyone who wants to go somewhere, whether you are planning to go shopping, going on vacation, or driving to a new restaurant, you will find that Google Maps is a very handy tool to refer to for planning out your journeys because Google Maps can accurately guide you to any of these destinations.
Moreover, Google Maps provides the latest, up-to-date information on its map, thus ensuring that Google Map users can reach their destination easily and without any backtracking. This makes Google Maps the more practical option in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison
For more information on how to use Google Maps to the fullest, please see the below article “Ultimate Google Maps Guide For Beginners”
The Main Difference Between Google Maps and Google Earth
Even though Google Earth and Google Maps may seem very similar, they each perform certain tasks better than the other, which will be outlined in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth article.
Google Earth is a tool that is mainly used for exploring places on Earth through detailed satellite imagery that presents interactive images of places to you exactly as they appear.
While Google Earth can be used for navigation, it is not exactly the best choice for navigation because of the following reasons:
- A very detailed and realistic view, making it difficult to identify small roads, locations, and routes.
- No step-by-step directions for navigation
- Limited information for different places
Google Maps, on the other hand, might not give the same level of detail for exploration. However, it can still be used to some degree for exploration thanks to the “Street View” and “Satellite image” features. But these feature pale in comparison to Google Earth, which give Google Earth an edge in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison.
The area where Google Maps excels, in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, is navigation, and it does this by providing step-by-step directions, and a more simplified map that is easy to use and read. Furthermore, users can easily correlate the locations, roads, and routes on Google Maps with their real-life counterparts. In addition, Google Maps provides the following features which give it the edge in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison:
- Location sharing
- Location reviews
- Multi-stop route planning
- More detailed info boxes for different places and locations
- The ability to add your business location on Google Maps
The below table summarizes the key differences, in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, for each platform, along with a rating scale of 0-5 to indicate the level of usefulness. Moreover, the below table will give a good idea for the result of the comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth.
|Feature||Google Earth||Google Maps|
|Visual Navigation||Yes (3)||Yes (5)|
|Satellite/Terrain Images||Yes, 2D and 3D (5)||Yes, only 2D (4)|
|Step-by-Step Directions||No||Yes (5)|
|Location Information (reviews, opening hours, description, etc.)||Yes (1)||Yes (5)|
|Location Marking||Yes (3)||Yes (5)|
|Address Sharing||Yes, via KML files (2)||Yes, direct sharing (5)|
Google Maps vs. Google Earth Side-by-Side Comparison
Now that you have a good idea about Google Earth, Google Maps, and their differences, let’s take a closer look at how the features of Google Maps vs. Google Earth compare side-by-side.
The first feature we will compare in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison is the feature for which these two platforms were created for, navigation. Furthermore, Navigation is very important in the comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth because this is the main application of these platforms
Google Earth Google Maps
|Although Google Earth has some navigation elements available, they are very limited in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison.|
Furthermore, the best you can do with Google Earth is to look at the map and figure out the route yourself because there is no route layout
or step-by-step directions in Google Earth
|Google Maps, in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, has some of the best navigation tools you need to plan a journey, and this includes route layout, step-by-step directions, and an overall uncluttered map. |
Furthermore, all these navigation features ensure that you reach your destination easily and quickly.
For the first comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth, Google Maps is clearly superior to Google Earth in the navigation department.
In the upcoming sections, we will be comparing more features of Google Maps vs. Google Earth.
2- Location Marking
The next feature in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison is Location Marking. This feature allows you to mark a certain point on the map, which can be used for different purposes such as getting directions, getting information about this particular place, knowing what is on this particular point, etc. Regardless, Location marking is one of the most important features in the comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth
Google Earth Google Maps
|In the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, Google Earth can only mark one location at a time on the map. However, you can create a project that has multiple locations marked, and save it as a KML file.|
Location mapping is very limited on Google Earth because after selecting a point, all you can do is visit this point. There are no directions available, and the infobox for locations is also very bare-bones.
In Google Earth you can measure the distance between more than one location by plotting these locations on the map (that’s the only time when you can have multiple markers on the map)
|Google Maps allows you to mark 10 locations at a time. In addition, you can even get directions to all of the marked locations.|
Marked locations on Google Maps bring up an infobox that has a lot of details about that particular location such as reviews and opening hours. Moreover, locations marked on Google Maps can be directly shared with anyone.
Distance measurement is also featured in Google Map, and it works similarly to distance measuring on Google Earth.
Therefore, in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, Google Map has an advantage in location marking.
Once again, in the comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth, Google Maps outshines Google Earth in the location marking department, thanks to having more uses for location marking such as step-by-step navigation, and for having the ability to mark multiple locations.
3- Finding Places
Up next on Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison is how easy it is to find places on the map.
Google Earth Google Maps
|Looking at Google Maps vs. Google Earth, it’s clear that with Google Earth you can find places by navigating the map using a mouse or keyboard, and you can also zoom in and out of the map.|
In case you need to quickly go to a specific location, you can type that location in the search bar, and you will be directly taken to this place.
|Google Maps can also be navigated using a mouse and keyboard, plus you are also able to zoom in and out.|
Google Maps also has a search bar for immediately jumping to certain places. The search bar also returns suggested searches for quick viewing.
Therefore, in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison,Google Map has an advantage in finding places as well
For the “finding places” aspect in the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison, both platforms have similar methods for finding places. And with this we are more than halfway done with the Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison.
4- Exploration and Virtual Tours
In this section, we will be taking a look at how exploration and virtual tours compare between Google Maps vs. Google Earth.
Since Both Google Maps and Google Earth show the layout of the entire world, they can also be used to explore and visit new places (albeit virtually) from the comfort of your home. It may not be as exciting as exploring in real life, but it’s the next best thing.
Google Earth Google Maps
|With Google Earth’s satellite imagery and aerial photography, you see different places in great detail, and in either 2D or 3D view.|
With Google Earth, you can virtually go around the whole earth, and see all the different countries, cities, and landmarks.
Google Earth also has a feature called virtual tours that allow you to take tours of popular destinations from the comfort of your home.
|Google Maps also has exploration capabilities, but at a lower level than Google Earth.|
With Google Maps, you can explore the entire world using the map in the “Map” view. Furthermore, Google Maps also has a satellite view similar to Google Earth, but it can only be viewed in 2D.
In place of virtual tours, Google Maps has a feature called “Street View”, which allows you to view realistic images of small routes and places.
In the comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth, Google Earth has better exploration and virtual tours capability due to providing more realistic images of different places on Earth and by providing short tours of popular destinations.
5- Everyday Use
The final aspect we will discuss in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison is which of these platforms is more suited for everyday use. This will include points such as how easy it is to access these platforms and how often you can use them.
Google Earth Google Maps
|Google Earth is a fairly powerful tool that requires an above-average device to function smoothly and properly.|
Furthermore, for a majority of people, Google Earth is only used once in a while, it does not have any useful features that will make a person use it every day.
Lastly, Google Earth requires a larger amount of processing power than Google Maps, which makes it unsuitable for constant use on the average device
|Google Maps is an extremely easy-to-use and highly accessible tool that can be used by anyone with a smartphone or a PC.|
Since Google Maps map is very light-weight, it can be opened, used, and closed in a matter of minutes.
In addition, the Google Maps app makes Google Maps even more easy and convenient to use for everyday tasks such as navigation and location identification.
Google Maps takes the win in the “everyday use” comparison of Google Maps vs. Google Earth. Google Earth is simply too powerful a tool to be used for everyday tasks. Moreover, Google Maps is a light-weight and easy-to-use use tool that can be easily referred to for getting around
So far in this Google Maps vs. Google Earth comparison article we have learned that on the surface Google Maps and Google Earth may seem like similar tools. However, they both excel in different areas. Furthermore, it really depends on the objective you are trying to complete that determines the result of Google Maps vs. Google Earth.
Google Earth is more suited for virtually exploring new places thanks to its highly-detailed satellite images that are displayed in high resolution. In addition, the images in Google Earth are also rendered in 3D which allows you to get an actual feel of the location you are looking at.
Google Maps, on the other hand, is more useful for everyday uses, such as getting to different places, due to its excellent navigation features. Moreover, Google Map is overall more practical than Google Earth when it comes to location finding, turn-by-turn navigation and discovering new places.
We hope this article of Google Maps vs. Google Earth has given you some insight on the core nature of these platforms.