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Using The Google Earth Cache – Basics

Published by Leszek Pawlowiczat January 14, 2009 in Google Earth. 4 Comments

When you view a location in Google Earth, it caches the imagery data (but not
the elevation data), storing it locally so that as you scroll back and forth
across different areas, it doesn’t have to download the same imagery over and
over again from the server on the Internet. There are actually two sets of
locally cached data:
Memory Cache: Data stored in system RAM. This information can be retrieved very
quickly, but vanishes when you exit the application.
Disk Cache: Data stored on the hard drive, and which persists after program
exit. So if you have data cached for a particular area in Google Earth, exit the
program, and then return to the same area the next time you use Google Earth, GE
will load the imagery information directly from the hard drive cache – a lot
faster than having to download it again over the Internet.
The size of these caches can be set in the Tools => Options section, under the
Cache tab:
The maximum values are the ones above, 500MB for memory cache, and 2GB (2000MB)
for disk cache; apparently, Google doesn’t want people to download the entire
imagery dataset for the whole planet to their systems :). If you’ve got the disk
space, and most modern systems do, you should definitely set the disk cache size
at this maximum value. Optimum value for the memory cache will depend on how
much RAM you have installed on your system, and how much your OS uses. If you
have a system with a relatively small amount of RAM (512 MB to 1 GB), making
this memory cache too large might impede performance. On most modern systems,
with 2GB or more of RAM, the maximum memory cache size of 500MB shouldn’t cause
any problems.
Disk cache data is stored by default in the
C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Local\Google\GoogleEarth directory in Windows
Vista.If you can’t find it there, you can determine the actual location using
the registry entry HKEY-CURRENT-User/Software/Google /Google Earth Plus, under
the CachePath entry. There are two files: dbCache.dat which contains the actual
data, and dbCache.dat.index, which presumably is the index file for the data.
You can clear out all the disk cache data using the “Clear disk cache” button,
which removes all the data but keeps the files there. To delete the files
completely, you need to either log out of the server (File => Server Log Out)
and then click the “Delete cache file” button you see above, or exit Google
Earth and delete those two files directly from the cache directory. You can also
copy them to another directory to hang on to them.
Why would you want to delete or copy these files? Two reasons:
1. If you’re having crashing or graphics issues with Google Earth, Google
recommends deleting the disk cache files as one possible fix.
2. You can “pre-cache” a set of data for a particular area of interest, then
copy them to a different directory on your hard drive. Then, when you want to
look at this area in detail in Google Earth, you can copy these files back to
the original directory, and Google Earth will access this data from the hard
drive, a lot faster than downloading it again from the Google Earth server. If
you have a decent Internet connection all the time, this is likely to be more
trouble than it’s worth. But if you have a slow connection, this can speed
things up enormously. And if you’d like to use Google Earth on your laptop, in a
location that has no Internet connection, using cached data is your only option;
Google Earth can access and use cached data when no Internet connection is
present or available. You can copy this cache data from one computer to another
as well.
Note: This only caches image terrain data from Google Earth, not data from
KML/KMZ files. If the KML/KMZ files are self-contained, you can load them into
Google Earth and view the data, but if they’re network links, and you’re not
connected to the network, the data in the links won’t show up.
Coming up next: how to cache Google Earth data manually.
Related posts:
Manually Caching Google Earth Data
Real-Time GPS Tracking In Google Earth Free – Setup
Automating The Google Earth Caching Process
Google Earth Caching Programs I – GECacheBldr
Google Earth Caching Programs III – Google Earth Voyager
Automatic Caching Of Google Earth Data For Offline Use
Caching TerraServer Imagery For USAPhotoMaps
A PC GPS Application That Lets You Use Garmin Vector Maps For Live Navigation
(OSM, Google And Bing Maps, Too)
GIS On A Stick
Overlay Google Maps, Windows Live, Yahoo, Ask.com and OpenStreetMap Imagery In
Google Earth
The LizardTech Stand-Alone MRSID Viewer
Real-Time GPS Tracking For Google Earth – Free Options I
Thematic Polygon Shapefile Display In Google Maps
New Free Stand-Alone MRSID Imagery Viewer/Exporter From LizardTech
Tracking "Web 2.0" Mapping Sites With Go2Web20.net

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4 Responses to “Using The Google Earth Cache – Basics”
Feed for this Entry

1 Sagar
Jan 14th, 2009 at 9:25 am
Good One!! Thank you!!
2 kalipheoune
Feb 24th, 2009 at 6:46 am
great article and thank you for this
ah yes i love this site thank you again ga
3 baby
Jun 13th, 2009 at 11:14 pm
is it possible to increase Disk Cache size?
4 Jordan
Jul 21st, 2009 at 3:31 am
This, and the guides on using the auto caching software have been absolutely
invaluable to me in the last couple of weeks.
Thanks heaps for a brilliant guide.
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