Aug. 4, 2008 To: ITMC From: Rick Bush, DNRC Re: Google Earth The review of Google Earth for use by State of Montana employees determined that state agencies should not use either the Free or Plus versions of Google Earth on their state computers. Purchase and use of Google Earth Professional is allowed when users need the functionality of Google Earth to do their jobs. Here is a summary of the issues reviewed by the Google Earth team of: Robin Trenbeath, Evan Hammer and Rick Bush. Various ITSD and agency staff were also consulted on this issue. Network – Does not appear to be an issue Licensing o The key concern is that licensing might be subject to change without notice. o The “Plus” version is licensed only for home, non-commercial use. o The Free version does not allow installs without the automatic updater. Security o The State CANNOT allow automatic updates of software Mandatory with “Free” version Selective on “Pro” version A program change from Google removing the automatic updater may result in reconsidering this recommendation on use of the Free program. Likewise, a program change requiring automatic updates of the Pro version could also result in reconsidering this issue. Procurement o $400/year standard licensing cost for the Pro version. Cost drops to $350 or $300 for volume purchases of Pro. o Agencies should follow normal procurement procedures to purchase the Pro version. Bottom Line Agencies who have identified a need for Google Earth in their operations should purchases the Pro version of Google Earth for employees. Cost would be $300-$350 per user with government pricing and volume discounts. This is a yearly license and will require annual renewal. When agencies have purchased enough copies of Google Earth Pro the state GIO will evaluate whether an Enterprise license might be more cost effective. It is highly recommended that agencies remove all copies of the Free or Plus versions of Google Earth from state computers. Exposure from problems with the automatic update feature is a major concern. One free alternative agencies should also consider is ArcGIS Explorer from ESRI. The product is an easy way to share maps with other users.
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