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Portable User Guide for Windows, and Linux



Google Earth Enterprise Portable

Google Earth Enterprise Portable (GEE Portable) lets you view portable globes and maps on your laptop or desktop without requiring network access. This is useful for emergency responses to disasters like earthquakes or floods, or for maps that contain private information that you don’t want to share on the internet.

You can install GEE Portable on a Windows, or Linux machine. It starts within seconds, and, then, you can launch a web browser to display one of the portable globes or maps that's been saved to the GEE Portable data directory.

Note: You can also connect to a portable globe or map with the Google Earth Enterprise Client (Google Earth EC). The Google Earth Plug-in for viewing a globe in the browser is now obsolete, but if you still have a copy and a browser that supports it, you can use it to connect to a Portable Server.

Portable globe and maps

A portable globe or map is a single file that stores all the geospatial data available within your specified area of interest — including all high-resolution imagery, terrain, vector data, KML files, and searchable point of interest (POI) locations.

Outside the specified area of interest, the globe or map stores only low-resolution imagery and terrain. You specify the levels of resolution when you cut the globe or map.

The following table describes the portable file types and their compatibility with GEE Portable.

Portable File Type Description Compatibility with Portable
.glb Portable 3D globe. All versions.
.glm Portable 2D map. All versions.
.glc Composite map or globe file assembled from 2D or 3D layers of other portable files. All versions of GEE Open Source Portable, Discontinued GEE versions 4.4 and higher.

Creating portable globes and maps

You can create portable globes and maps with the cutter tool feature of the Google Earth Enterprise (GEE) Server, or you can obtain them from third-party vendors. Depending on your area of coverage, it can take only a few minutes to specify and generate a globe or map and then save it to the GEE Portable data directory.

Useful resources

Install GEE Portable

GEE Portable is supported on:

To install GEE Portable:

  1. Refer to the Portable Server on Earth Enterprise Wiki for build, install and run instructions.
Note: Before you install an upgrade, back up the contents of your data directory.

Ther are currently no OS packages or installers and uninstallers for Portable server. The installation procedure is to build it on the OS distribution you want to use it on as a file archive. You can extract the contents of the archive in whatever location you like, and execute the server from that location.

Note: The Google Earth Plug-in isn't supported any longer, so you can't view globes (.glb or .glc files) in your browser (unless you happen to have a copy of the old plug-in, and a browser that can run it on Windows or Mac OS). You can, however, view maps (.glm files). You can also use your Linux machine to serve 3D globes that you can view from Linux, Mac or Windows machines that are connected to the Linux server.

Serve a globe or map from GEE Portable

Unpacking GEE Portable creates a directory named like portableserver-<os>-<version>, with <os> and <version> having values depending on the operating system, Portable version and build date. This directory contains a folder called data (unless you renamed it in portable.cfg). Copy your globe or map to the data folder. The GEE Portable interface lists all the globes and maps that you place in this folder. If you no longer want a globe or map to appear in the list, simply remove it from the data folder.

Serve a globe or map from the Google Earth Enterprise Server

If you want to serve a globe or map to a large number of users, you can use a Google Earth Enterprise Server (GEE Server) on a Linux machine instead of a GEE Portable Server on a user’s machine. GEE Server is capable of storing very large globes or maps, and it also lets you serve globes and maps on your own private network so that only authorized users can connect.

To serve a map or globe from GEE Server:

  1. Enable the GEE Server Cutter tool on the command line:
    • In GEE Open Source: gecutter enable

    By default, the cut globes are stored in the /opt/google/gehttpd/htdocs/cutter/globes directory.

    To change the directory, create a symlink to point to another directory.

  2. Access the Google Earth Enterprise Server Admin console in a browser window by going to, replacing myserver and mydomainname with your server and domain.
  3. Sign in with the default credentials or the username and password assigned to you:
    • Default username: geapacheuser
    • Default password: geeadmin
    Note: If you do not know your username and password, contact your Google Earth Enterprise Server System Administrator.
  4. Click Manage Portable to display the list of portable files in the /opt/google/gehttpd/htdocs/cutter/globes directory (by default).
  5. Click Register next to the portable file you want to connect to. A message appears to indicate that your portable map or globe has been registered to GEE Server. Close the Manage portable globes window.

    If you want to download the file, click the file name.

    The registered portable map or globe now appears in the Databases list of the GEE Server Admin console.

  6. Check the box next to the portable file name, then click Publish. The Publish dialog appears.
  7. Enter a Publish point or accept the default. For example, the Publish point MyCutGlobe would result in a serving URL, where myserver and mydomainname are specific to your server.
  8. Specify a virtual host and optionally turn on WMS.
  9. Click Publish to publish the portable file.

    A message appears to indicate that your portable map or globe has been published and the Publish point updates in the Databases list.

  10. Click the Publish point link to view the portable map or globe in a new browser tab.

Broadcast a globe or map

To share a globe or map with others on your network:

  1. When disable_broadcasting is set to True in portable.cfg, the default setting, you can enable broadcasting using either of the following methods:
    • Add accept_all_requests True to your portable.cfg file.
    • Add disable_broadcasting False to your portable.cfg file, and follow the next option.
  2. When disable_broadcasting is set to False in portable.cfg:
    • Add accept_all_requests True to your portable.cfg file.
    • Visit the Portable Server administration page, open a globe or map, and click on the broadcast icon (Broadcast globe icon).

Note: By default, broadcasting is off and cannot be turned on via an http call to the API. This feature is controlled by the disable_broadcasting flag, which is set to True in portable.cfg. However, if you set accept_all_requests to True in portable.cfg, then broadcasting is enabled, regardless of the disable_broadcasting state.

Connect using GEE Portable

Start Portable Server by executing python from the folder you unpacked the Portable Server archive in. After it launches, open a browser and navigate to http://localhost:9335 (using any custom port or hostname you may have configured). Click the Folder (as shown outlined in red below), then select the globe or map you want to view. You can view only one globe or map at a time.
Portable folder icon

Globes and maps that are broadcast on your local network might require an access key. If prompted, enter the key to view the globe or map. You can obtain the key from the person who is broadcasting the globe or map.

Connect using the Google Earth Enterprise Client

Launch the Google Earth Enterprise Client (Google Earth EC). When prompted for a server address, enter http://localhost:9335. If you've changed the default port in portable.cfg, use the new port value instead.

Connect using the Google Earth Plug-in

GEE Portable comes with preconfigured HTML pages called hello_earth.html and hello_maps.html that display your globe or map using the Google Earth API or Google Map API. Note that the hello_earth.html sample uses the deprecated Google Earth Plug-in.

If you'd like to make your own custom application, start by making a copy of either of these files and then add your own edits.

To access either of the files, enter the URL in your browser:


Note: Although it is possible to configure GEE Portable to display multiple globes or maps at the same time, this isn't recommended or supported. The additional configuration requires you to build the globe or map to reference a specific port number, which means you would have to rebuild it if you wanted to re-use it for any other ports.

Get info about your globe or map

Click the Folder (as shown outlined in red below) to view a list of the globes and maps you can access. Each globe or map is listed with its file name, description, creation date, and size.
Portable folder icon

Select a globe or map, then click the Menu (as shown outlined in red below) then select Show layer list to see all the layers for that globe or map. You can use the list to select the layers you want the globe or map to display. To hide the layer list, click the Menu, then select Hide layer list.
Portable menu icon

Change your configuration options

The Google Earth Portable directory contains the server/portable.cfg configuration file. This is the directory you unpacked the Portable Server archive in.

The Portable configuration file defines the editable options listed below.