How to Measure a Roof Using Google Earth? A Simple Guide for All Users

You may have found yourself in the market for a new roof on your home and have started the process of shopping around. You will have to choose which type of roofing you will want, the color if it is available in multiple shades, and who you will hire to do the job.

The issue is, when you start speaking to roofing suppliers and installers you may be asked the size of your roof. Aside from climbing up to your roof and putting yourself in danger, how could you possibly get this measurement? This helpful post will walk you through how to measure a roof using Google Earth from right in front of your computer.

What You Will Need?

To simply measure your roof with Google Earth, you will need the following to get the job done:

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    Desktop PC
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    Internet Access
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    Google Chrome Web browser
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    A desktop which you can save a program to (not a public computer)
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    Address of the property to be measured
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    Paper and Pen
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    A little bit of time

It really isn’t a time-consuming process once you have Google Earth installed. Just follow on with this guide to learn what to do next.

Step By Step…

1. Get Online

Access your Internet browser. If you are not currently using Google Chrome, you will need to download it to your computer in order to use an up to date version of Google Earth. Simply go to Google.com, type in Google Chrome into the search bar and a link to a free download will come up in the search results. Click on the link and when you arrive at the website, click to start downloading Google Chrome to your computer.

2. Use Chrome to View Google Earth

Once Chrome is finished downloading, open this browser. Now type in the address bar: www.google.com/earth This will take you to Google Earth online.  Click the Launch Google Earth button which should appear near the center of your screen in a blue rectangle.

3. Find the Menu Icon

On the main screen you will see a picture of the Earth. Up in the top left corner are three lines, which represent the menu. Click these lines and the menu will open, where you will see a list of choices. 

4. Download the Desktop Version

 At the bottom of the entire menu, you will see “Download Google Earth on Desktop” Click on this to download the desktop version right to your computer. It may take about five minutes to download this version.

5. Access the Google Earth Pro Icon from Your Desktop

You will now, need to minimize your web browser so that you can access the desktop version of Google Earth, called Google Earth Pro. There should be an icon created right on your desktop to double click on.

 When you open this version, you will see a little different interface compared to the online version. There are many more options and menus available. Don’t let this overwhelm you though.

6. Choose the Right Menu Tools

If you are greeted by a menu of Start Up Tips, you can simply close this small window. Move your mouse to the top menu bar to Tools. Select the Ruler Tool. With this selection, you will notice that a box appears on your screen, usually right smack in the middle of your Google Earth screen. You can click and drag this box wherever you would like on your screen to have it out of the way.  We will come back to this tool in a couple of steps.

7. Type in Your Address

In the upper left of your Google Earth Pro screen you will see “Search”. Type in the address of the property you which to take roof measurements from. This could be a residential, commercial or industrial since Google Earth will pick up anything just based on the address given by the user. 

8. Get a Better View: How to Make Adjustments

The result you get will seem very distant, just a pinpoint on the map. Look to the righthand side of your screen and you will see the zooming scale. You can either click on the + or slide the scale ruler with your mouse to get an up-close view of the property and the roof you have chosen. If your Google Earth Pro is running in 2D mode can change to 3D for a more realistic view my clicking the 3D at the bottom of your screen as well.

9. Back to Explore the Ruler Tool

Now back to the Ruler tool we will go. You will notice there are different tabs to choose from in your Ruler window. You will want to select Polygon. On this screen you can choose which unit of measurement you would like displayed. For the purposes of this “How To”, I am choosing to go with Feet and Square Feet. If at any time you accidentally click on your screen with your Ruler cursor and it registers a starting point, you can just click Clear and your measurements will be erased easily.

10. Select Your Points of Measure

Your cursor is now a square and this is how you will mark the points on your roof which you want to include in the measurement. Keep in mind, most buildings do not have perfectly square rooves, so you may need to measure in sections to get an accurate idea of the sizing of each portion of roof. Start by clicking on corner of the roof to mark your beginning point. Then move to the next corner and so on, until you have completed a square or rectangle outline of the roof. You now have the measurement of the perimeter as well as square footage.

11. Measure Additional Sections If Needed

If you have more sections to measure, write down your previous findings as Section 1 and then repeat Step 10 for the next section requiring measuring. Be sure to write these down as well so you have all your information for a later time to give to contractors and suppliers.

This video tutorial here is a complete walk through of how measurements were obtained for a property using Google Earth. You can watch it and get a better understanding of the steps outlined here in this guide. 

Overview

When you realize how quick and easy this tool is, you will want to take measurements for everyone! The great part is that it doesn’t cost you anything and you can do this in your pajamas if you wish. I always like to measure a couple of times just to be sure since measurements could be thrown off by simple misplacement of the measuring point. You don’t have to worry though; contractors and suppliers will usually add on about 10% to ensure they have a little extra materials to cover any issues.

Hopefully you have found this guide how to measure a roof with Google Earth useful and helpful in finding the measurements you were looking for, without having to climb to great heights. I know I could never do that since my biggest fear is heights, afterall. Please feel free to leave a comment or question about this How To guide, because we enjoy the feedback we receive from our readers. 

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Roger
 

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