The MODIS sensor on the Aqua and Terra satellites capture amazingly detailed natural color imagery every day from all over the Earth. The imagery is detailed enough that you can easily see cloud formations, snow coverage, smoke from large fires, etc, for the entire US. And the best part is the imagery from these satellites is available in almost real time and is typically online within a few hours of it being captured. There are several MODIS datasets available for viewing within Google Earth.

MODIS Today:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center has created MODIS Today, a repository of MODIS imagery for the Continental United States that updates every day. In addition to the current MODIS imagery, about 2 years of historical imagery is also available online from the MODIS Today website making it possible to watch storms and other meteorological events as they progress from one day to the next. They have made the imagery available in Google Earth format (just look for the Open in Google Earth link at the top of their web site).

OR……I have created an easy to use index that includes the current (Today’s) imagery and all of the historical imagery (through 12/13/2009), which can be accessed directly from Google Earth. Just download the file below the screenshot to access the imagery via this method. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to updated the new links to the historical imagery every day, but I’ll try to do an update every few months.

The historical imagery is organized by Year and Day of the year. For example, a1.07324 is interpreted as the 324th day of 2007 from the Aqua satellite.

These are very high resolution SuperOverlays. They will increase in resolution as you zoom in, but might take a few seconds to load. Unfortunately, the SuperOverlays are not optimized very well, so they are a bit slower than they need to be. But the image quality is excellent nonetheless.


The NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology has created the OnEarth website, which contains numerous global imagery overlays. One of these overlays is the DailyPlanet, which is a continuously updated near real-time overlay of imagery from the MODIS Terra satellite. This overlay covers the entire Earth and is updated as new imagery becomes available from the satellite.


Download With Google Earth


Google Earth Library


OnEarth website

NASA MODIS Satellites


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