•  October 6, 2022

    Google Earth Engine Frequently Asked Questions

    Google Earth Engine (GEE) is now available for commercial use! We wanted to answer some questions surrounding this momentous occasion. Earth Engine has been around for 10 years, but Google is now releasing GEE as a Google Cloud product. Google Earth Engine contains over 50 petabytes of data composed of 900 out-of-the-box datasets to combine with your data with, many being refreshed daily.

    In addition to the high quality Data Catalog Google has curated, GEE is capable of consuming your own imagery asset and enriching spatial data to inform your analysis. More than that, Google Earth Engine can also be configured to consume imagery data directly from satellite imagery providers like Planet.

    What is Google Earth Engine most useful for?

    Google Earth Engine allows analysts to leverage massive imagery assets and world class compute to answer decision maker’s questions.

    GEE is a planetary scale imagery analysis platform which connects decision makers more easily and quickly to new business insights.

    Users with some familiarity of remote sensing and javascript concepts can now wholly avoid the onerous data and infrastructure prerequisites to approaching imagery analysis. Data scientists can more quickly than ever get to work answering questions about our changing world and publishing results for the world to see. Google Earth Engine excels at change detection, quantifying risk, exposing data trends, as well as monitoring and alerting tools (an example being detecting illegal logging or to identify unauthorized developments).

    What is the Google Earth Engine Data Catalog?

    Google Earth Engine Data Catalog is a searchable resource with in depth metadata for each resource to help guide your analysis development process. It contains up-to-date Landsat, MODIS, and Sentinel data to support a wide variety of temporal analysis. Each dataset can be accessed using a single snippet of code, and from there can be combined with your existing data to create unique insights.

    Is Google Earth Engine (GEE) Free for Government use?

    Google Earth Engine is available free of charge for noncommercial and research use. To be free of charge for government use, Google Earth Engine must be used for “Government Research Activity”, be “project driven”, have a definitive start and end date, be a one-time project, and all research findings are to be made publicly available.

    To make the most of Google Earth Engine, contact Sanborn’s GEE Support Team for help accessing and using GEE: advice on how to qualify for free usage, help with accessing and using the Data Catalog, tips for performing analysis, and all manner of GEE implementation support.

    How much does Google Earth Engine cost?

    Google Earth Engine is split into two pricing structures: On-demand and Monthly. On-demand pricing does not include Google’s SLA, which guarantees a 99.5% monthly uptime percentage. On-demand pricing for Google Earth Engine compute (data processing) is $1.33 per Online Earth Engine Compute Unit (EECU) hour, $0.40 per Batch EECU-hour, and $0.026 per GB for the storage of that data.

    • The Basic package includes 100 EECU-hour of Batch EECU (Earth Engine Compute Unit) credit, 10 EECU-hour of Online EECU credit, and 100 GB of Earth Engine Cloud storage credit included.
    • The Professional package includes 500 EECU-hour of Batch EECU credit, 50 EECU-hour of Online EECU credit, and 1 TB of Earth Engine Cloud storage credit included.
    • The Premium package is also available for greater than 500 EECU-hour of Batch EECU credit, but you need to talk to Google or a certified reseller like us here at Sanborn to make that happen.

    Monthly pricing for Google Earth Engine is $500 per month for the Basic package (includes two user licenses), and $2,000 per month for the Professional package (including a license for up to 5 users). The Basic Package offers 100 GB of storage credit included, whereas the Professional package offers 1TB of included storage credit. The Premium package includes unlimited users. This means that the higher the tier, the smaller the storage fees per GB and user license fees become.

    The resources allocated to GEE in support of user processing jobs are shared and the performance for a routine process can vary based upon the overall job queue size. For users running critical business analysis pipelines or who need a process to run within a tight parameter set, dedicated compute resources can be secured for these processing jobs. Reach out to Sanborn for more details about right sizing your dedicated Compute Engine.

    What is Batch EECU and Online EECU?

    EECU is short for Earth Engine Compute Unit. 1 EECU-hour is equal to “an online or batch managed worker executing customer tasks for one hour.”

    How do I buy Google Earth Engine for commercial use?

    The only way to buy Google Earth Engine for commercial use is to get in touch directly with Google or to work with a certified Google Earth Engine Partner like us here at Sanborn. In both cases you will need to set up an Account with Google and register your project.

    The advantage of working with a certified GEE Partner, is that they can help you swiftly navigate the process of getting a Google Account, as well as provide a host of additional useful advice. For example, the Sanborn GEE Support Team is trained to evaluate your project needs — from setting you up with the right data and data storage options, to performing the desired analysis. Based on a description of your use case, we can estimate pricing based on consumption and data readiness.

    To talk with an expert about how your data and use case can benefit from GEE, you can get in touch with our team using the form at the bottom of this page.

    How do I open a Google Earth Engine account?

    To get a Google Earth Engine account, go to your Google Cloud Console, under the apps library go to Google Earth Engine API, then click “enable“ to start a Google Earth Engine project. Regardless of if you’re using a free or paid version, you must also register your project to keep using the Earth Engine API. Google will effectively “pull the plug” on your project if you don’t.

    At times this process may be confusing or you may have additional questions. Feel free to ask us anything about the process of onboarding and working with Google Earth Engine.

    What is the difference between Google Earth and Google Earth Engine?

    Google Earth is a computer program which presents a 3D visualization of the earth wrapped in satellite imagery from various satellite platforms. Google Earth allows you to see satellite imagery pixels and GEE allows you to perform sophisticated analytics on those satellite imagery pixels. Google Earth Engine (GEE) is a cloud computing platform which enables data scientists to do planetary satellite imagery analysis.

    Check out our product homepage to learn more about Google Earth Engine.

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