The Stack Archive

Google to open source on-premises Earth Enterprise software

Tue 31 Jan 2017

Google Earth

Google has announced that it will be releasing its Earth Enterprise software as an open source resource this March, allowing developers to deploy Google Maps and Google Earth across on-premises infrastructure.

Launched over 10 years ago, Google no longer sells the enterprise software commercially, but has continued to push out updates to businesses which already hold licenses.

The software will now be made available free-of-charge over GitHub, under an Apache 2.0 license, meaning organisations will be able to collaborate on and modify the software to suit their requirements.

“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,” wrote Google Cloud Senior Technical Solutions Engineer, Avnish Bhatnagar, in an official blog post.

However, in the business of its public cloud offering, he continued that Earth Enterprise users would have the option to use the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), instead of legacy on-premises servers, to run their GEE instances.

Bhatnagar suggested that incorporating these workloads on the GCP would support users looking to process large imagery or terrain assets and download them to internal networks. He added that having access to GCP’s geospatial data, on the same platform as their compute and storage, would make generating GEE databases and portables easier and faster to manage.

Not all of the Earth software will be published on open source. The Cloud engineer noted that Google Earth Enterprise Client, Google Maps JavaScript API V3, and Google Earth API will remain private.

Google is a regular contributor to the open source community, along with other tech giants including Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. Earlier in January, the company released a free Tilt Brush toolkit to help artists animate 3D sketches for use in virtual reality games and videos. This month, Google also published an open source compression library called Draco, which seeks to improve the storage and transmission of 3D graphics – aiding the development of apps including gaming, design and data visualisation.


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