How to Measure Acreage With Google Earth

by Kevin Lee, studioD

While many people use Google Earth to enjoy scenic virtual tours of global locations, others use its 3D viewer to help them measure distances. If you'd like to know the area of a geographical location, you can use Google Earth to compute its acreage. Performing this type of measurement is similar to drawing paths in Google Maps. Although you can measure straight line distances using the regular Google Earth program, you'll need the Pro or EC version to compute acreage.

Launch Google Earth, and type a location you'd like to measure in the "Search" text box. Click "Search" and wait as the program displays an aerial view of the location.

Click "Add" and select "Polygon" to open the New Polygon window. Click "Measurements" and select "Acres" in the "Area" drop-down menu.

Click the upper left corner of the area on the map that you'd like to measure. Hold down your left mouse button and drag the cursor. As you drag it, the program draws a white polygon that covers the area over which the cursor moves. Continue tracing until the polygon fills the area you wish to measure.

Return to the New Polygon window and note the value next to the Area drop-down menu. That value shows the area in acres that you traced.

Type a name for the polygon you created in the "Name" text box. This name helps you find the area later. Click "Description" if you like, and type a description of the area in the text box that appears. Click "OK" to close the window.


  • When you open Google Earth again, you'll find the names of the areas you've measured in the Places panel. Click a name to view the polygon you drew. Delete an existing polygon by right-clicking its name and selecting "Delete."
  • When the New Polygon window opens, it may obscure your view of the terrain. Click and drag that window to a new location if you don't want it to do that. This window must be open when you trace an area in the 3D viewer.

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

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