The default background vector map of Google Earth Engine has a very accurate and detailed water classification. Much better than most other sources I have seen.

Is it possible to access this resource in order to use it, for example, for masking?

I cannot find it in the data collection of available datasets, but is obviously present in the application itself.

2 Answers 2


The default map in Earth Engine is the map from Google Maps, and is not a dataset available within Earth Engine.

It is possible to retrieve the data (e.g. via Maps Static API), but the Terms of Service for Google Maps Platform include “No Creating Content From Google Maps Content”, so I would guess that the usage you propose is not allowed unless you can obtain a agreement with modified terms from Google Maps Platform — but this is neither an official answer nor legal advice.

  • I see, thank you for an informative answer.
    – Smerla
    Jan 21, 2020 at 8:39

Kevin Reid provided a good answer to the proper question asked. However, I did find a possible way to deal with the original reason why I asked.

The OpenStreetMap project provide a vector basemap that is very similar to the Google maps equivalent. This data is free to use and can be uploaded as an asset to Google earth engine.

Link to extract data from OpenStreetMap: https://www.openstreetmap.org/export

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