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Google Earth Enterprise to become open source in March


Google has announced that it is open sourcing its Earth Enterprise software in March 2017. With this developmen­t, organisati­ons will be able to deploy Google Maps and the 3D view of Google Earth on their on-premise data centre infrastruc­ture.

Originally introduced in 2006, Google Earth Enterprise (GEE) was being sold by the search giant till 2015. It was designed to let enterprise customers build and host their private, on-premise versions of Google Earth and Maps. But now, Google has given a two-year maintenanc­e period to the customers to help them transition.

After the transition, Google’s team is set to release the source code of the Earth Enterprise suite on GitHub under an Apache 2 licence. The open source package will include GEE Fusion, GEE Server and

GEE Portable Server. “Open sourcing

GEE allows our customer community to continue to improve and evolve the project in perpetuity,” Avnish Bhatnagar, senior technical solutions engineer, Google Cloud, wrote in a blog post.

Google Cloud is used to host Earth images. The company will release instructio­ns on using the Google Cloud Storage service with Google Earth before the source code becomes freely available in March 2017. Though a major part of the GEE suite will be open sourced, Google does not have plans to release the code for Google Earth Enterprise Client, Google Maps JavaScript API v3 and Google Earth API.

The imagery and terrain quadtree implementa­tions used in the enterprise products will help third-party developers build viewers that can consume GEE Server Databases. This will enable

Google to expand its presence among developers and enterprise­s.

Open sourcing server software will affect software providers in the same space, such as Esri or ArcGIS Server. But developers would ultimately get a chance to switch to Google’s solutions for providing their custom maps and 3D globes.

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