Linked Images from Google Servers

Google provides web services that allow download of images showing maps like those in Google Maps and satellite images like those seen in Google Earth. Both images showing maps and images showing satellite images are often referred to as Google Maps data even though the satellite images are normally viewed within the Google Earth browser.


Manifold can link images from Google image servers if we have an Image Server Interface (ISI) driver to use the Google servers as Manifold Image Servers installed on our machine. See the Linked Images from Manifold Image Servers topic for information on the image server interface. does not distribute image server modules for Google; however, many third parties do. A quick web crawl is usually all it takes to locate a Manifold image server module that conforms to the Manifold ISI standard and works with Google servers. For maximum irony, use Google to search the web to find image server modules for Google. If you want to be mean to Google, use Bing.


Note encourages all Manifold users to employ Yahoo!, Microsoft Virtual Earth, CloudMade, Yandex or NearMap in preference to Google image servers.


There are many important reasons why using Microsoft Virtual Earth ISI modules is a better idea than using Google Earth ISI modules:


·      Manifold users who have experience with Google ISI connections have complained that Google has an undocumented "throttle" of some sorts that limits access to Google servers if people actively use the connection. Microsoft Virtual Earth has no such throttle and encourages use.

·      Users with experience of Google ISI drivers complain that Google-sourced imagery sometimes is stamped with annoying "watermarks" that say "Google" over the image. Microsoft Virtual Earth does not disfigure the imagery it provides.

·      Microsoft Virtual Earth imagery appears much smoother than Google imagery at large scales, without the annoying "mosaic" tile effects often seen in Google imagery at large scales.

·      In some cases, Microsoft Virtual Earth imagery is more detailed at local scales than Google imagery.

·      Microsoft provides an extraordinary range of developer-friendly programs to assist the use of Virtual Earth, either using Microsoft APIs or using open source connections unregulated by Microsoft.

·      Google has attempted to impede developers providing open source connections to public Google web services. Microsoft has supported and encouraged such developers. Understanding and applying Google's restrictive legal positions for its API requires costly legal investigation, while Microsoft makes it very easy from a legal and business perspective to utilize Microsoft Virtual Earth.

·      Numerous third party geographic browsers, like NASA World Wind, have connections to Virtual Earth while Google has tried to prevent competition from such browsers. Virtual Earth is therefore becoming the standard for geographic browsers.

·      All Manifold development is aimed at Virtual Earth and Virtual Earth will be supported in future editions of Manifold directly by Google Earth is supported only by third party developers via open source projects that may or may not continue to be available with no development or technical support for such projects or modules by By georegistering your work to Virtual Earth you increase the likelihood that no adjustments will be required (in georegistration or otherwise) or that fewer adjustments will be required with future products from


For the above reasons, most experienced Manifold users working with ISI drivers have already switched to Microsoft Virtual Earth.


Other image servers popular with Manifold users include Yahoo! and newer entrants like CloudMade, which provide far greater control over display than Google. Yahoo! in particular is to be commended and supported for their very generous encouragement of the OpenStreetMaps project.


See Also


Linked Images

Linked images from Manifold Image Servers

Linked Images from Manifold IMS Web Sites

Linked Images from OGC WMS Servers

Linked Images from TerraServer


A Flashy Demo - Web Queries and KML

Exporting KML to Google Earth

Fun with Google Earth

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Export Image - KML, KMZ

Import Drawing - KML, KMZ