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Google Earth Enterprise to become open source in March

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Google Earth

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

Originally introduced back 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 transition.

After the transition, Google’s team is set to release the source code of the Earth Enterprise suite on GitHub under Apache 2 license. 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 for using Google Cloud Storage service with Google Earth before the open source launch sometime in March.

Though a major part of the GEE suite will be open sourced, Google is not in 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 enables Google to get expanded across developers and enterprises.

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