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Using Google Earth/Maps in the map development process

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Poll: Google Maps/Earth in the map development

How often do you use Google Earth / Maps in your map creation process?

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#1
rudy

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I am wondering how reliant cartographers have become on Google Earth/Maps for information and data. Both show satellite imagery and road data of varying resolution and currency. How often is it being utilized in official or - more likely - unofficially - in the creation of maps?

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Somewhat regularly. It's often a very big benefit if you can look at an aerial photo to see what a faraway place that you're mapping actually looks like. But that's mainly because I'm involved in a mapping project right now where it's very difficult to find reliable reference data.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#3
François Goulet

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One of your choice tells exactly the use I have of Google Earth: «Only when I can't find any other information elsewhere»

I once use a G.E. placemarks with all of Quebec's golf courses because it was impossible to obtain GIS data containing all the info. But I still don't know if all the points where exactly at the right place... I was going a little blind on this one...

#4
peanut

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I have been using Google Maps more and more. See http://waterquality.lcra.org and http://crwn.lcra.org . The production process is better now that I have figured out how to use ArcGIS server produce tiles to overlay on Google Maps. The watersheds and rivers and streams on the maps originated as ArcMap MXDs.

Rich

#5
ELeFevre

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I am wondering how reliant cartographers have become on Google Earth/Maps for information and data. Both show satellite imagery and road data of varying resolution and currency. How often is it being utilized in official or - more likely - unofficially - in the creation of maps?


Slightly different angle to the question:

When we develop new layers or maps, you can bet that one place that layer or feature might be fact-checked is in Google Earth. If your map/layer doesn't fit positionally with what the customer sees in Google Earth/Maps, then there's something wrong with your data/map. Who gets the benefit of the doubt on that one? Of course this view is more centered around layer developement, but the implications for cartographic work are strong. I can think of several occasions in the past year where customers wanted to know the positional accuracy of our map features against Google Earth. IMO we aren't necessarily reliant on GE as a direct data source, but we are becoming more bound to it as a resource/reference tool, because our customers are using it. My 2 cents. Any thoughts on this angle? Sorry if I pulled the topic in a slightly different direction. Hopefully it's worth it.



#6
James Hines

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Watch out carefully with Google Earth, if you have a client that wants a business located this program is reliant enough to give you a location of where it is, but not reliant enough to place it on the right side of the street.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#7
Jean-Louis

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For my type of illustrative mapmaking, Google Earth has been a dream come true. The closest thing to a magic carpet that allows me to understand the layout of an area from an oblique perspective.

Erin's post brings up a good point. In mapmaking as in politics, perception is reality. GE is definetely altering geographic perceptions. Whatever GE does every mapmaker's credibility will be matched against it.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#8
GRiker

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I'm new to this forum, but I've been making GPS maps for several years. I routinely use Google Earth to trace roads in places where I don't have 'ground truth' (a recorded track from the area). I've learned a couple of lessons that might be useful others here:

- There are lots of alignment problems in Google Earth where the seams of images have been blended. This is usually most visible with roads that suddenly jump 20 or 30 meters. If I have ground truth, I can figure out which image is more wrong. If not, I just average them and hope for the best.

- Because of how the images are captured, there is distortion in the images, especially in hilly areas. Imagine that the satellite is directly overhead when it records the image. This will minimize the displacement of roads at different altitudes, because everything looks pretty flat from directly above. Now imagine that the camera is shooting at a 45 degree angle. Any features at an elevated altitude will be projected incorrectly because of this angle, but there's no way to see it in the images - they look correct. I figured this out when mapping my hilly neighborhood, as I was unable to get my recorded tracks to line up with Google Earth imagery, even when allowing for GPS error. It is possible to find the azimuth angle of the shot in Google Earth - it's buried down in the Layers.

- For large areas, I use a program called Stitch Maps (http://stitchmaps.com) which allows you stitch together multiple Google Earth images into a single large JPG for tracing. Very handy.

Hope this helps.

G

#9
rudy

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G - you raise some good issues which all of us need to pay attention to. Google Earth/Maps and the like have been great in that there is essentially an atlas at your fingertips. I know that we have tended to use Google Earth/Maps quite regularly, comparing satellite imagery to other sources but we tend to forget that Google is probably more interested in pretty pictures that positionally accurate information.

According to the Terms of Use, copying information is prohibited - I suppose this includes things like copying road alignments or street names. Technically, we probably should all avoid using Google Earth/Maps for research purposes. . . .

#10
Dennis McClendon

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Google Maps, Live.com, and Ask.com are huge research resources for us, since we do lots of large-scale work and work locating specific businesses. We use flashearth.com to discover whose aerials appear to be the most recent, and take advantage of large monitors to do big screengrabs of the aerials. Live.com's oblique aerials are tremendously helpful when trying to figure out specifics of a building or site plan. I just gave a lecture last night where I was talking about the old days, 10 years ago, when aerial photos were an exotic thing you had to get by ordering big paper prints from a local council of governments or natural resources ministry.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#11
natcase

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According to the Terms of Use, copying information is prohibited.

I don't read it that way at all. Copying of copyrighted imagery is prohibited, as is batch geocoding:

Also, you may not use Google Maps in a manner which gives you or any other person access to mass downloads or bulk feeds of numerical latitude and longitude coordinates.

But finding out where something is, or confirming its existence/alignment using aerial views is pretty clearly within bounds. Standard US copyright laws apply, by which factual information is considered public domain, but its representation may be copyrighted.

For business users, Google Maps is made available for your internal use only and may not be commercially redistributed, except that map data may be accessed and displayed by using the Google Maps API pursuant to the API terms and conditions.

would seem to me to imply that they don't want you redistributing Google Maps-encoded information outside the organization: that is, you can't screen-shot Google Maps and re-post that screenshot on your web-site. You can only embed Google Maps live using the terms of their API.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#12
Alexander Remizov

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Google Maps/Earth is one of my primary data source

I now do not work in the industry... Maps now my hobby. ^_^ And I do not have other exact source... (For exact maps. On example of my city)

#13
loximuthal

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My situation seems a bit different from most of the folks here. We're kind of like Google Earth/Maps, in that we are a large organization gathering information from all over the country (ok, we don't do the whole world ;) ) for massive amounts of mapping (and other purposes). For instance, during the last decennial cycle we produced in the neighborhood of 15 million individual map sheets. With that scale of operations we can't even bother to look at other sources of information while mapping. We do have a number of data inputs, of course. Some are: local/state gov'ts, either marking up our paper maps or sending us their GIS files; Census field workers (usually temporary hires) doing some field verification; satelite/air imagery. But as far as I know, nothing from Google.
Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

#14
bebe onea

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Hello,
I used images from GE a few times for some projects of mine and I can tell you that they have positioning errors between 20 and 25 meters. I checked this against orthophotos purchased from the gouvernment.

#15
Kristal

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I have been using Google Maps more and more. See http://waterquality.lcra.org and http://crwn.lcra.org . The production process is better now that I have figured out how to use ArcGIS server produce tiles to overlay on Google Maps. The watersheds and rivers and streams on the maps originated as ArcMap MXDs.

Rich


Hi Rich, This is my first time on this forum but saw your posts and maps you created from ArcMap. I'm looking for a simple way to make a bunch of maps accessible to the public without having to create and manage an internet map service. I'm searching through references on line but need a quick couple of suggestions for a short deadline. Can you tell me briefly where you started and is the google interface a free one? Thanks, Kristal




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