Collect Earth


A Java-based tool that facilitates data collection from Google Earth.

Collect Earth is a free, open-source tool that uses point sampling to collect data from Google Earth.

The tool is part of a suite of environmental monitoring resources developed by the Food and Agricultural Organization, called Open Foris.

Although primarily designed to assess deforestation, Collect Earth is also useful for data journalists looking at other issues connected with land use changes over time.

To this end, Collect Earth pulls a HTML-based form into Google Earth, wherein the user selects the plot of land that they want to monitor and then makes observations regarding its land use. These observations harness [internationally recognized land use categories, as well as a confidence indicator, in order to maximize the accuracy of results.

After completing these observations, the current state of the land is compared to its historical uses by clicking the clock icon and selecting a time range:


By moving the slider across historical satellite imagery, it is easy to see how the selected plot of land has changed over time.

Collect Earth also offers integration with Bing maps and Google Earth Engine to account for any data gaps. The integration with Google Earth Engine, in particular, provides a means to correlate visual observations with different vegetation indices for the selected plot.

The final data selection is automatically saved to a database for further analysis.

Collect Earth is run on Java, and can be operated on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Visit the Collect Earth webpage here or its GitHub page here.