I am using Google Satellite (via QuickMapServices) in QGIS to count settlements in a certain area, and I'm looking to compare this settlement data to satellite imagery from a few years back.

Is there a way to know what year the current Google Satellite imagery was taken? Does QuickMapServices update this continuously?


3 Answers 3


QuickMapServices is only a catalog, not a geodata hosting. Like a search services (google, bing, etc.) this service provides only links, not a data. So, QMS knows nothing about google satellite capture date and any other metadata. QMS only knows details which user, who create service, added and, additionally, service status.

Also see https://qms.nextgis.com/faq

I'm developer at NextGIS.

  • 1
    I have been noticing a large amount of your posts are designed to self promote your software and services. Please be careful in self promotion on this site, as it is often view as SPAM. More details on this can be found at meta stack exchange: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57497/…
    – Aaron
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:43
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    @Aaron do you mean that I should add that I'm working in NextGIS which supported free and opensource QuickMapServices service? The link you provide not clearly clarify this. Or I cannot answer any questions directly or indirectly connected with our services and software? Sep 14, 2018 at 13:06
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    I would recommend adding your affiliation in your answers. Many thanks.
    – Aaron
    Sep 14, 2018 at 13:07
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    I edited my answer with affiliation information. Sep 14, 2018 at 13:10
  • 1
    affiliation information is clarification and also nice to see on GIS.SE having the actual developers onboard to answer specific questions.
    – Mapperz
    Sep 14, 2018 at 14:27

If you open the layer properties for any layer from QuickMapServices, you will see a link to an attribution guide for the particular data provider.

enter image description here

By following that link you will get to the website for that data provider, where you should also be able to find information about their data management practices.

If you want to view Google satellite imagery from a specific time period, Google Earth Pro for Desktop lets you select the year and season. You could conceivably use this tool to figure out when the satellite imagery in your QGIS project is from.

In practice, it may not be possible to know when satellite imagery on a WMS layer is from. If this is important to your project, you may want to directly download source data, such as Landsat data (which is available for free from the USGS).


Google Maps is great but most of its imagery is outdated. If you are looking for a tool that will help you analyze an area of your interest over a certain period of time then I would highly recommend to use LandViewer. This tool has a vast database of satellite images that are updated regularly. All the satellite data is free to use and easy to find thanks to the convenient search interface, which reduces time needed to find right image data.

Here’s a brief guide to free satellite data that can be found on LandViewer:

  • Landsat 4 - archive 1982-1993
  • Landsat 5 - archive 1984-2013
  • Landsat 7 - archive since 1999
  • MODIS - archive since 2012
  • Landsat 8 - archive since 2013
  • Sentinel-1 - archive since 2014
  • Sentinel-2 - archive since 2015

It’s easy to use: just find an area, select a satellite and date range, and browse available images.

For example, let me show you an image of crop fields in Texas. As you can see per indicators on both sides those images are 5 years apart. You may set any date from 1970 and beyond in the settings bar on the top right and apply any INDEX you need for a deeper investigation.



  • Careful : this user uses this website to only advert EOS viewer.
    – gisnside
    Aug 29, 2019 at 9:21
  • Avoid overt self-promotion. The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.](genealogy.stackexchange.com/help/behavior). In practice this means any answer that recommends your own product must include something like "Disclosure: I am the [position] of [company] that develops/distributes this software/test".
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 29, 2019 at 10:52

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