An Different to Google Earth in Development

google earth alternative
Illustration: © IoT For All

Have you ever ever spent extra time than you’d like looking for the data you want? Or grown bored with patching collectively an entire image of your challenge with a number of software program platforms and dense folders filled with drawings and different documentation? You’re not alone. You want good Google Earth alternate options.

We hear the identical each week from challenge managers, engineers, and superintendents; there aren’t many software program options on the market constructed particularly for giant infrastructure tasks. Juggling Google Earth and drawing administration software program solely goes up to now.

You lose time making an attempt to navigate your challenge, information falls between the cracks, and other people or supplies aren’t in the fitting place on the proper time. However what Google Earth alternate options are on the market?

Luckily, there’s a extra intuitive strategy to seize, handle, and share development information: geolocated drawings. By visualizing your drawings and layering challenge information on a map, you’ll have all the things you want in a single place – simply digestible by anybody in your workforce.

Why Actual-World Location Issues in Development

Contractors are left with hundreds of paperwork, pictures, and different information which might be siloed throughout platforms or just crammed into folders, lists, and spreadsheets.

The present expertise obtainable means the constructed world is diminished to a stack of recordsdata.

We’ve seen with our clients that monitoring supplies or just sharing a complete view of your challenge together with your workforce generally is a critical headache.

For that reason, contractors are turning more and more to mapping to raised visualize and arrange key information. However present strategies depart a lot to be desired.

The Mapping Standing Quo: Advert Hoc & Time-Consuming

Development groups perceive the worth of real-world context and sometimes flip to some type of mapping:

  • Printing out giant sheets of satellite tv for pc imagery to hold on the partitions of an workplace
  • Exporting drone or satellite tv for pc imagery as a PDF and marking it up manually in software program like Bluebeam
  • Utilizing Google Earth or Google MyMaps to make easy annotations

We’ve seen groups pair these annotated maps with spreadsheets or different hooked up documentation. However whereas these groups’ creativity and pragmatism must be admired, their options are restricted.

In every case, contractors have patched collectively an answer that:

  1. is difficult to replace to match the fact on the bottom
  2. shows solely a partial image of the challenge
  3. is siloed from different platforms
  4. is time-consuming to create and keep

With this in thoughts, it’s unsurprising that development groups don’t use maps extra extensively. Maps ought to carry readability to a challenge, not carry additional issues.

The issue right here is evident: Contractors are compelled to create their very own mapping options or leverage software program that’s not constructed for development.

Google Earth & MyMaps Aren’t Designed for Development

Google Earth and Google MyMaps are wonderful mapping instruments for the general public, not challenge engineers. Development groups want Google Earth alternate options.

Although these platforms are used broadly, they threat losing your time, create sophisticated workflows, and fall wanting the true potential of development mapping.

Let’s look at the professionals and cons.


  • Each Google Earth and MyMaps are free. Exhausting to argue with that, proper?
  • Google Earth gives easy-to-use drawing and annotation instruments whereas MyMaps offers an added diploma of customization.
  • They combine with different Google merchandise and supply easy mapping from a spreadsheet.


  • Google Earth and MyMaps don’t assist a combined dataset (drone imagery, development drawings, subject documentation, and so on.), present restricted element on the work represented, and have to be juggled with different platforms or documentation for a context-rich document.
  • It’s difficult to collaborate with a workforce inside Google Earth and MyMaps, these instruments are siloed out of your different development software program, and export choices are restricted.
  • Google Earth and MyMaps don’t operate offline and have restricted cell capabilities; they’re not constructed for the sphere.

Google Doesn’t Join Workplace, Trailer, and Area

Google mapping merchandise are nice for most of the people, however they’re clearly not designed for development, the place collaboration is crucial and also you’re dealing with a number of completely different information sorts.

By sticking with Google merchandise, you threat contributing to the identical issues which will have pushed you to maps within the first place: info silos, dangerous information, and time wasted monitoring down correct info.

We see an alternative choice to Google merchandise within the evolution of development drawings. Whereas Bluebeam, PlanGrid, and Fieldwire have introduced contractors into the digital age, the subsequent era of drawings is on a map.

The place Trendy Drawing Administration Falls Quick

Regardless of vital innovation within the final 10 years, fashionable drawing administration instruments are lacking a crucial dimension of your information: real-world location.

Development Drawings: Previous & Current

Paper drawings went the way in which of the dinosaur with digitization (with paperwork saved digitally in complicated submitting techniques). Right here, Bluebeam gives a robust but simple strategy to mark up your digital drawings simply as you probably did by hand.

All the things’s additionally been linked in a single place for simple entry within the subject. For instance, PlanGrid equips boots on the bottom with real-time entry to up-to-date drawings.

And software program like Fieldwire guarantees streamlined collaboration and the potential to connect key documentation to your drawings for a extra full document of labor.

There’s debate over which of those merchandise is superior, however it’s clear they’ve reworked the way in which contractors handle drawings.

Sadly, Bluebeam, PlanGrid, and Fieldwire share one thing else in widespread; they show development drawings stripped of their real-world context.

Google Earth Alternate options: The Subsequent Technology of Development Drawings

Trendy drawing administration instruments should be paired with a map.

It simply is smart to see your drawings on a map – whether or not that’s a superintendent within the subject directing crews on the day’s work, a challenge supervisor assessing progress throughout a number of tasks, or an engineer sharing updates with an proprietor. No matter you may have hidden deep in a folder construction can see the sunshine of day in your geolocated drawing.

Geolocated Drawings

You may stake your drawings to real-world coordinates, toggle drawings on and off to mirror completely different phases of your challenge, add challenge stations, and overlay related environmental and geographic info.

Blended Dataset

For additional context, you’ll be able to visualize the contents of your folders (RFIs, change orders, permits, tools, supplies, and extra) or dump a thousand photos and watch as they’re mechanically geolocated.

Actual-time Progress

Plus, this info isn’t static. Crews can log inspections and different updates from the sphere with easy information assortment instruments – so you’ll be able to monitor this progress immediately in opposition to your drawing.

With a real-time map, groups can navigate your web site and fieldwork with ease. The place is their each day task? The related documentation? The supplies and tools? A employee can use their cellphone’s GPS to see precisely the place they’re standing amid the data.

Finally, these map-based drawings not solely present nice Google Earth alternate options however are additionally the way forward for development information administration.