I've been researching internet lately to make a comparaison between Google Geo solutions ( Google Maps, Google Earth) and other GIS solutions (Free of charge or commercial, QGIS, ArcGIS, etc.). I can say I have now an idea about how they all compare, still, I wish to confirm my conclusions by whatever your experience have served you, especially of those who dealt with Google Geo in their projects.

My question is : is Google Geo (let me underline Google Earth here) becoming a GIS solution ? How are geoprocessing tools and workflows in the latest versions of Google Earth ? What does it offer in term of geo-analytical capabilities ?

Edit : I forgot to mention that I am well aware of this thread, I just need extra infos about GIS-like capabilities of Google Geo solutions.

  • I don't see why this question should be flagged as opinion based. The matter is purely technical. Feb 7, 2014 at 15:00
  • @Luis de Sousa, I agree with you... no need to close this thread but dont try to argue with those people, it is useless Feb 7, 2014 at 15:43
  • Opinion based ? M'kay... Well... Let me assure you it is not.
    – Akheloes
    Feb 7, 2014 at 20:37
  • In the future, may be Google will have a Big Gis as Arcgis. Actually goggle has engine maps and works fine.
    – user3120
    Feb 10, 2014 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


If you take the G in GIS for Geographic then the answer is no. If you take the G in GIS for Geodetic then the answer is maybe, but not any time soon.

There are two main issues with Geoprocessing in the Geodetic domain:

1. Calculations are way more complex, time consuming and uncertain. Take for instance the distance between two points: should it be calculated along the loxodrome or the orthodrome? in the later case which margin of error are you willing to accept? And then there are rasters, which on the Geodetic domain are an whole different world. You can certainly have approximations using a sphere and curtailing series development, but precision goes overboard and results can become meaningless.

2. Most cartography in the world is still produced on data other than the WGS84. In local applications, say for a small to mid-size country, WGS84 imposes errors that may not be acceptable.

For something like GE to be largely adopted you need at least a wide adoption of WGS84 as native datum and secondly fast and precise tools for geodetic processing.

  • Yes, there will always be a need to reproject one's local data to GE native CS (WGS84), which does not favor geoprocessing.
    – Akheloes
    Feb 7, 2014 at 20:31
  • Still, how much geoprocessing can we do on GE other than that we have to script ourselves ?
    – Akheloes
    Feb 7, 2014 at 20:34
  • When you pass your geographical data to WSG84 you are not reprojecting, you are doing a data transformation, already introducing a good deal of errors. In theory you can do all the processing you wish in the Geodetic domain; in practice it is a huge challenge, both algorithmically as computationally. Feb 7, 2014 at 21:20

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