Google Earth Offline Mode

How big is the Google Earth database?

Have you ever wanted to use Google Earth offline? Did you then think, hang on, how big is it in terms of data size and will it fit on my USB stick that I keep on my key-ring?

Firstly, no, it won’t fit on your USB stick as Google Earth is approximately 70TB, that’s seventy terabytes or 70,000 gigabytes which sounds like quite a lot, but as we all know, it’s still only about half a Petabit!

What you probably didn’t know is that Google originally intended Earth to be a totally offline program. In 2001 they began to publish a weekly magazine which included a 3.5” floppy disk containing a portion of the Google Earth database. The first issue was 1.99, with subsequent issues being sold for 5.99. The magazine included facts about geographic points of interest as well as a regular Sudoku.

Google Earth Screenshot

Although initially very popular, the magazine was stopped indefinitely following the findings of Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian mathematician Ludwig Ugelstad, who calculated that to complete one’s Earth database would take 1406743.9121 years and cost over 439 million dollars, not even taking into account inflation or possible post-apocalyptic economic variables.

Following this revelation, Google decided to explore the possibility of putting Google Earth onto the internet, a medium they weren’t overly familiar with. Fortunately, Google Earth online turned out to be a great success, particularly for people with internet connections.

The picture below is a rare image of the first issue of the ill-fated Google Earth offline project.

Google Earth Offline Mode

Question and Answers about Google Earth


How big is Google Earth in data file size?

Google Earth is has a database of approximately 70TB

Is there an offline mode?

Yes, it’s not particularly difficult to get Google Earth to work offline, but you will, of course, be limited to the amount of map data you have downloaded to your computer.

Can it really show you anywhere in the world?

Pretty much, but we mainly use it to look at our own houses.

Will Carey

About the Author

Will Carey is the founder of The Big Dot Company and Creative Chair. He started experimenting with digital design in the 90’s, turning it into a business after obtaining a degree in graphic design in 2012.