Creating a Vector map from Google

Posted on 2009-02-23
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I have a Google map which I want to convert to true vector.  What is the best suggestion you have to do this?  I need it to be as close to the original as possible, in terms of quality, etc...

If possible, I would prefer to just have the actual streets traced.  Street names are even optional.

The end result I want is a true vector map.  I will need to OVERLAY custom stuff to the map.  It will later be printed in poster size.

Can you provide a step-by-step to your solution (settings to use, etc...)?
Question by:RobertNZana
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    Well first off, I am not sure of the legality issues that might be involved. In a very real sense, you are trying to duplicate and use someone else's work.
    Assuming there are know legal issues, and unless someone knows a better way of capturing the map, you will most likely  have to deal with a screen capture  which is only 72 dpi, and any program you use to convert it to vector is going to give you less than desirable results. I don't think there is any way around that, although you might be able to get some improvement by increasing the resolution to 300 dpi (or more) and sharpening the image before you convert it to vector.
    Basically, I would save the screen capture as a TIFF, open it up in photoshop and experiment with increasing the resolution and sharpening the image. Save the TIFF, place in Illustrator. Select the image and use the Live Trace feature to convert it to vector. You will have to play with the settings to see what you can get as far as quality of conversion, but I am pretty certain you won't be very happy with the results.
    LVL 9

    Author Comment

    Is there any method that I can use where I WILL be happy with the results?  Or will I have to trace it by hand (mouse)?
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    I think the answer is that as long as you don't have any problem in going in and editing complex vector art, then in the long run, you can be happy with the end results. What I meant was that you will most likely not get a quick, clean vector map right off the bat. Each step will likely involve a lot of experimentation and the vector art you get will require a lot of manipulation.
    HOWEVER, you can end up with a suitable product if you have the time, skills and patience.

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