How does Google Earth and ISRO’s Bhuvan compare?

Comparing ISRO’s Bhuvan and Google Earth is that its like comparing a child with a full grown person. Google Earth has been at doing this for a long time so obviously ISRO Bhuvan cannot really reach that level as yet. Ofocurse being an Indian there is that sense of pride one can associate with Bhuvan 🙂

Screenshot of ISRO’s Bhuvan:

ISRO Bhuvan

Screenshot of Googler Earth:

Google Earth

Some differences between the two:

  • ‘Bhuvan’ is supposed to work with Internet Explorer 6.0  upwards and also recently with Firefox but I could not load it on Firefox. It worked fine with Internet Explorer 6. It still cannot be used with Chrome. Unlike Google Earth I had to register at the site before I could use Bhuvan.
  • ISRO’s Bhuvan is supposed to have resolution upto 10 mts but when I checked it first-hand I saw its resolution was not even upto the mark compared to Google Earth which is supposed to be about 200 mts. See both screen-shots from my computer which was overhead shot of our office building.
  • The ISRO site claims I could book-mark places with ‘Bhuvan’ in a map but finding a place on the map is quite a tedious task. The search option is good for looking up a city but not really helpful if you want to find a particular address or even a locality. ‘Bhuvan’ had no easy option for me to bookmark our rtBlogs office. With Google Earth usually most landmarks and roads are covered.
  • Google Earth is after all an application made by a private company for comercial purposes and hence it is quite open to listing tourist landmarks,  cafes, restaurants and hotels. ISRO Bhuvan is a application made by the Goverment of India and hence it obviously has its main focus on not strictly commercial aspect but more on geological factors like water tables and soil elevation.
  • ISRO Bhuwan has tried to emulate Google Earth and thats not a secret. The design struture the layout has tried to stay close to Google Earth and thats not really a bad thing for first time users but novelty would have been to do something different.
  • Finally Google Earth has evolved from a company since 2001 and Bhuvan’s prototype beta version was out on 12th August2009 and even ISRO admits it has bugs and they will be fixed over time. The challenges for ISRO will be mainly its ability to handle traffic which is often a goverment owned website’s  ‘Achilles heel’.

I dont really think the two softwares will compete with each other in the recent future. Google Earth is far too well entrenched and ISRO Bhuvan has its sights on different functionalities compared to Google Earth. Also ‘Bhuvan’ covers India sepcifically and hence if they really do end up becoming competition to Google it might be only in India. I think that after the initial buzz dies down a bit ISRO’s Bhuvan will target a niche clientele which will include town and city planners along with road and railway developers.

Why dont you check out Bhuvan’s website for registration and leave your comments about the post for a lively discussion? 😉

Links: Google Earth | ISRO’s Bhuvan


Arundhati September 2, 2009

Google Earth gives an eagle’s eye view and Bhuvan (as of now) gives a sparrow’s eye view.

Aditya Kane September 2, 2009

I know 😐 December 21, 2009

Download the latest plugin for Bhuvan and also get infomation about Bhuvan at

hari January 2, 2010

you are absolutly correct google is 50% is better than bhvan but it a small step for isro we are sure isro can do better than google earth