Sign up ×
Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What datum (reference ellipsoid) does Google Earth[1] use?

I can't seem to find where Google Earth tells explicitly what datum they use. I need some sort of valid link.

[1] The default free version that you download from Google.

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

WGS84, according to:

Cheers, Ryan

share|improve this answer
Is it important for this question, that the geoid they use is not a perfect WGS84 geoid, but an EGM96 geoid which is a sphere?!msg/kml-support-advanced/… – Matthias Kuhn Apr 23 '13 at 7:18
Does Google's also use this datum for its Google Maps Geocoding API? – craig Sep 13 at 3:17
EPSG 3857, or spherical Mercator, is an interesting one. Since they use a different datum for input and output.… – Vesanto Oct 30 at 11:26

The heights on google earth refer to EGM96 and are, therefore, Geoidal heights. The lat/long are referred to the WGS 84 ellipsoid.

share|improve this answer
That is pretty much the same as the SRTM C-Band data available on the net. – M. Mukul Oct 30 at 11:16
Read… – M. Mukul Oct 30 at 11:19

It is NAD27, according to google support:

share|improve this answer
This is incorrect. The page you link to explicitly states: "Google Earth uses Simple Cylindrical projection with a WGS84 datum for its imagery base." – Fezter Apr 23 '13 at 6:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.