Google Earth vs Google Maps Web – Which is better?

Google Maps is the most widely used map application in the world. Almost full world coverage with streets, paths, recent orthophoto imagery, and many other functions. Google Earth does support most of it, but often it’s not as useful as the web platform.


While using Google Maps is very easy for navigation, the Google Earth’s 3D map is not suitable for this purpose. That is primarily because Earth is mainly a desktop app. Mobile app for Google Maps requires just a few taps to calculate the ideal path to a destination. It will use the mobile device’s GPS sensor to define the starting point, saving the time for you to find your current location on the map. Yours is just to tap on the destination or insert its name or address in the search engine. You get the ideal path calculated in a second or two, along with few alternatives. Google Maps also integrates with Google Flights if it estimates that flying is the best or the only option to reach the destination.

Street View

This extremely useful tool helps many travelers to look around and see how neighborhoods really look like prior visiting. You will know how to get around in the micro-location, and what are the interesting points around. It can also let drivers know how to successfully go through complicated routes and intersections, avoid poor roads etc. Street View is available in both Maps and Earth, but the latter seems to tackle it faster. The standalone Windows and Linux apps use the computer’s hardware resources more efficiently than any browser does. There are also Google Tours about which we will discuss later.

Finding Businesses

This is another function where the Maps interface – app or browser-based – fares better than Google Earth. It will faster facilitate searches and show nearly all points of interest on a highly zoomed map. The Earth will only find places of interest if you search by a query.

Map layers

Avid lovers of maps and topography like to play around with many layer options Google Earth offers. The left pane in Google Earth shows a breakdown of many layers spanning from user-added images and other content, Wikipedia, news and other media entries related to locations, borders, roads, railways, mountains, rivers, and anything else. Google Maps do offer some layers functionality, but it’s nowhere close to Earth.

Manual measurements

While Google Maps do calculate distances in a breeze, those who need more, just have to stick to Google Earth. Using the paths and polygons, you can measure land areas, or add paths outside the Google’s added road network. For example, you can use Paths to calculate distances that use secondary roads, hiking trails, and anything else not included in the maps.

Flight Simulator

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Google Earth is its flight simulator. It’s a basic flight simulation game that lets users fly two kinds of aircraft – the Cirrus SR22 light monoplane and the F-16 supersonic fighter jet. Despite basic, it offers a lot of fun as you can play with air navigation controls and look through a virtual HUD dashboard.

Google Earth vs Google Maps Web – Final Verdict

Google Earth is no replacement for Google Maps. It is more like a simplified tool for those more interested in virtual touring around the world. Google Maps, on the other hand, help people move around neighborhoods unknown to them or calculate time and distance of their trips.

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