Ever wanted to have a giant version of Google Maps’s road map that you could print and squiggle all of the rides you have done before? Now you can.
I’ve held onto a piece of software for a couple years now that is capable of downloading Google’s maps in tiles, then stitch them all together into a big image that is printable. Unless you have a large format printer, I’m sure that you could just tape/glue the pieces together.
I really think this program is great for shops, race organizers, or just cycling geeks that like to have a big wall map of where they have been.
I’ve used two pieces of software to grab very large maps of a certain course we have been riding lately.
First, Google Map Buddy:
When I say this map is huge, I really mean it. This ideally would be printed at 42″x60″.
So far I haven’t really found any downsides to Google Map Buddy. If there are any, it is that it is kinda sorta hard to find, and that it is no longer supported by the creator, since google sent them a cease & desist order. Something about downloading google map tiles for non-software supported use, etc etc etc…
If you have been looking for something like this, try it. It is best suited to save about a town or two worth of map space. I have tried to save all of West Virginia at once… Yeah… haven’t lucked out on that one yet, but then again my bandwidth is terrible.
There is also gMapMaker, which is also abandonware, but is easier to find. It isn’t supported by the publisher, and the forums have been dead for over six months. The software is capable of utilizing Open Source maps, and some Bing maps, but it is kind of sketchy, as seen here:
As you’ve noticed, there are a few splotchy parts on the map that appear black. That is where a tile is missing from the set of images that the program downloaded, and either lost or discarded when it compiled them all to make the big map. I tried three or four different times to get the software to not do this with no luck in the long run. Sigh…
Either way, if you still ever had dreams of printing off enough maps to cover your bathroom walls, or stick behind a piece of plexi, so you can chart your rides… this is the way to do it.
If anyone else has some up-to-date, and cheap ways to have large format maps printed, lemme know!