Tips for users of Google Earth Enterprise

If you previously used Google Earth Enterprise (GEE) Fusion Pro and Server, you’ll find many familiar workflow concepts in Google Maps Engine. You load data, merge it to form a virtual world, configure its styling, test it for readiness, and then publish it for end users.

You’ll find differences in these areas:

Terminology

Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine use different terminology. In Google Earth Enterprise, you combine resources into projects, then merge projects into databases. You style vector data in the 3D vector project or a 2D map layer, process it in Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro, and then publish databases in Google Earth Enterprise Server, from which end users can access the data. Most of these terms are different in Google Maps Engine.

This table shows the terminology mapping for 3D databases.

Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro Google Maps Engine
Database Map
Project Layer
Resource Data or data source
Display Rule Style (which has display rules)
Providers Attribution

Authoring and publishing processes

In Google Earth Enterprise, you combine data as a map to publish for end users. You’ll do the same in Google Maps Engine. A 3D map consists of an imagery layer, and possibly one or more vector layers.

The processing work in Google Maps Engine takes place at the layer level. In Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro, you could specify attribution information for image and vector data that you uploaded, and you’ll do the same in Google Maps Engine.

Styling

In Google Maps Engine, display rules specify the way that vector data is represented; these are similar to display rules in Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro. You apply these rules to vector data, when you build vector data sources into layers. The related process in Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro is the exporting and importing of display rule templates.

Sharing

Sharing is new in Google Maps Engine. You can share data with an access list that contains individuals, teams, or the world. By sharing data or layers, you allow them to be reused in the maps of other map editors, so your organization can publish multiple layers or maps that use the same resources.

In Google Earth Enterprise Fusion Pro, you can distribute a copy of a resource and the recipient can build it into a project. In Google Maps Engine, the process is streamlined, in that the data does not have to be physically copied or transferred. When you share an item with an access list, the item automatically becomes visible in the Google Maps Engine catalogs of map editors specified in the access list.

Publishing

Google Maps Engine has a simpler publishing process than Google Earth Enterprise. Once you’ve built a map draft and quality tested it, you can publish the map to end users with a single click. Once a map is published, users can automatically see it if the map is public; if the map has an access list, authorized users will need to be logged in first.

Publishing a map in Google Maps Engine is similar to publishing data on a development system with Google Earth Enterprise with both Fusion Pro and Server software installed. The data publication does not require transfer from the development environment to the production system, as it does with Google Earth Enterprise Server.

Imagery processing

Like Google Earth Enterprise, Google Maps Engine supports alpha masks on imagery data and layers but only Maps Engine enables you to overlay imagery on Google's public base map. If you don't want to overlay your imagery on Google's base map, you can build an imagery layer that includes a complete global image backdrop, such as NASA Blue Marble, NOAA Etopo, or Natural Earth. The backdrop is optional, though, because Google Earth is your backdrop by default.