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Google Earth Pro used to cost $400 a year — here’s how to get it for free

Google Earth Pro used to cost a staggering $400 a year, but in case you haven’t heard, the intuitive mapping program is now free. Google announced the change back in 2015, but the company’s instructions have since become outdated. Thankfully, the process remains relatively straightforward and quick.

Related: Google Earth just got a whole lot sharper thanks to the Landsat 8 satellite

The Pro package will be familiar to anyone who has used Google Earth before, but the software comes loaded with a host of extra features. Media companies use the video export feature to supplement reporting, and construction firms can use the tools to digitally survey any location on Earth. Here’s how to get these and other previously expensive features for free, whether you’re an Apple or Windows aficionado.

Step 1 — Download Google Earth Pro

To get started, we’ll need to download and install Google Earth Pro. Head to the Google Earth homepage, click the Explore option beneath Google Earth Pro, and click the blue Download Google Earth Pro button on the right-hand side of the page.

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In Windows, simply open the .EXE file installer and allow it install the latest version of Google Earth.

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On a Mac, you’ll need to open a DMG file, then run a PKG installer. You can customize where the application will install, but the defaults are fine if you’re not sure which settings to use.

Step 2 — Sign in with your email and this password

The first time you start up Google Earth Pro, you’ll be asked for an email and License Key. To use Google Earth Pro, you need only use your email address with the License Key “GEPFREE.” Like this–

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Do that and you’ll be using Google Earth Pro in no time. To keep things simple, go ahead and check the box beside Enable automatic login. If you do, you won’t have to remember the key next time you fire up the software.

Keep in mind that Google Earth users can also sign in using their Google account. This gives you access to any content you’ve created in Google Earth in the past, as well as your search history. Signing in with a Google Account does not affect your license key, so don’t be afraid to do so.

Enjoy Google Earth Pro features, free of charge

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Google Earth Pro comes with an array of beneficial features, many of which can help facilitate otherwise difficult tasks. Below are just a few of the more advanced things you can do with Google’s virtual globe.

  • Calculate the distance between two points
  • Quickly measure the area of a particular area
  • Find out how tall towers or hills are
  • Export images up to 4,800 x 3,200 pixels in size
  • Import spreadsheets full of data for overlays
  • Record and export 3D footage in full HD, or 1,920 by 1,080 pixels in size

There’s a lot more than just that, too, as evidenced from the video above. The footage is from 2010, so it’s a little old, but it gives you a great idea of the kinds of things Google Earth Pro can do that the other version of Google Earth cannot. Some features have been dropped — Google removed the demographics and traffic overlays in the beginning of 2016, for instance — but there’s no reason to install Google Earth instead of Google Earth Pro at this point. Enjoy the extra features, even if they’re shrinking.