Capturing High Resolution Satellite Imagery from Google Maps


Google Maps is a brilliant resource for getting free satellite imagery. However, whilst you can often zoom into great levels of detail, the window dimensions are not big enough to capture very much of the site area. Here, I'm going to show you a relatively simple method for getting large, high quality satellite images with the help of a little bit of HTML and a Firefox plugin called Screengrab.

1 - Finding the Map

As you would normally, visit http://maps.google.com and locate the area you wish to find an image of. Then, click the 'settings' cog icon at the bottom of the page page, and click "share and embed map". On the popup that appears, choose "embed map" and copy the HTML code, as highlighted below.

2 - Creating the HTML File

For anyone not familiar with HTML web coding, this is probably the trickiest part, but we've made it dead simple for you. Simply download the linked google_map.zip file at the bottom of this page, open it up and use any text editing software (Word, Textedit, Notepad, BBEdit, Dreamweaver etc) to open the google_map.html file enclosed.

You then simply need to paste the code you copied from Google Maps into the page, where shown below.

3 - Editing the Image Size

Now, simply change the dimensions highlighted below to whatever you want them to be. These dimensions are in pixels.

That's it! Now save the file.

4 - Installing the Firefox Screengrab Add-On

If you don't have it, you'll need the Firefox web browser. Get it from http://www.mozilla.com/ and install.

You'll also need to install the 'Screengrab' add-on for firefox. Follow the instructions at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/screengrab-fix-version/ and you'll see the Screengrab icon on the right of the Firefox toolbar.

5 - Saving the Satellite Image

Finally, simply open the google_map.html file you created in the Firefox browser. Use the standard Google Map controls to pan and zoom the map to how you want it.

Remember, the image size you specified may be larger than the Firefox browser window, so make sure you use the browser scroll bars to ensure the satellite image is positioned centrally within the entire page, rather than just what's visible on screen.

Then, click the Screengrab icon in the toolbar, and select 'Save' followed by 'Complete Page/Frame' as shown below. From here, you can save the Satellite Imagery as the image you require.

Of course, you may want to play around with different image dimensions, different zoom levels and centering the map, so simply change the image dimensions in the HTML file and play around with the zooming and panning in Firefox before grabbing the screen.

Additional downloadable files

google_map.zip
Submitted by Alex Bimpson249 Articles
Published on Saturday 9 October 2010View Profile