Google Earth

Fix Graphics Display Rendering Issues

SUMMARY: Is Google Earth rendering satellite views poorly on your machine or not at all? This tip provides troubleshooting advice.


You may have difficulties when viewing satellite images of the world in Google Earth. For example, when zooming in and rotating the view, some graphics cards may display odd-colored shapes and blocks instead of satellite imagery. Or, graphics may display correctly but Google Earth may run extremely slowly as images are being rendered.

Some graphics problems may be attributed to network congestion or Google not having detailed-enough imagery for your particular zoom level. If graphics problems frequently occur, however, the following may help you diagnose graphics issues and tweak Google Earth so it can render satellite images correctly and quickly.

First, read the release notes to ensure that your graphics card is supported. If so, you may want to change the rendering settings used in Google Earth if supported by your graphics card.

1. Click "Tools" - "Options".

2. The "Google Earth Options" multi-tabbed dialog box will appear. Click the "3D View" tab.


Google Earth 3D View options



3. If supported by your graphics card, consider switching the graphics rendering mode from "OpenGL" to "DirectX" or vice-versa.

4. You may also try checking "Use safe mode" if you are still having rendering problems.

5. You may wish to lower your texture colors from "True Color (32 bit)" to "High Color (16 bit)". Granted the satellite views may not look as nice, but this may speed up the rendering process.

6. Check the "Compress" button underneath "Texture Colors" to speed up graphics display at the expense of quality.

7. If Anisotropic Filtering is set to "High", try setting this to "Medium" or "Off". This may speed up graphics display at the expense of quality.

9. Try moving the Terrain Quality slider bar to the left (Lower) end. This should speed up graphics display at the expense of quality.

10. When done, press "OK" to close the dialog box. You may be prompted to restart Google Earth based on the change(s) made.

Note that you may have to go through the above steps several times, trying out different configuration options, before isolating the problem and optimizing your Google Earth viewing experience.

Note that this tip was written for Google Earth v4.3 Beta for Windows. Information and screenshots are subject to change between versions and operating systems.

Return to the Google Earth page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.