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Running GIS, Google Earth and Google Maps through Google Trends throws up some interesting results. The launches of both Google Earth and Maps are instantly noticeable with Google Earth proving by far the most popular search term.

Of note is the steady decline in Google Earth with Google Maps now overtaking it for the first month since launch. The number of people searching for GIS was always going to be low and indeed it has dropped slightly overtime. An interactive version of the graph is embedded below:

Comparing Google Earth and Google Maps is of course controversial within the industry and research sector but one cant but wonder if emerging ‘cloud based services’ will see a further decline in the visibility of the hardcore GIS user compared to the continuing rise of the Neogeographer (?)

Thanks go to Alex from for the Google Trends tip.


  • Rog says:

    Google Trends is a measure of search trends only, and I think it is very dangerous to infer anything from this data. Google Maps is a web based service, so people will continually search for it when they want to use it. On the flipside, people might search for Google Earth once, in order to install it, and then they know where to find it on their desktops.

    Also choosing an all time indexing baseline causes very obvious spikes when something suddenly exists. The “decline” in Google Earth suggests to me that it’s now established, not waning.

  • James says:

    Yep agreed, although i do get the feeling that Google Earth is slightly losing popularity after the initial ‘wow’ factor. Yet Google Maps is ever on the rise.

    What is interesting is the almost constant low level search for GIS yet behind the scenes of Google Maps and Earth all the work is GIS based.

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