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Create Desktop Wallpapers from Google Maps Satellite Images

Bored with your existing desktop wallpaper? How about creating a wallpaper on your own using picture tiles from Google Maps.

With some free software, you can turn the interesting aerial photographs available on Google Maps website into a beautiful wallpaper backgrounds for your desktop screen. They look all the more stunning if you have wide or dual monitor setup.

Here's a step-by-step illustrated guide to walk you through the process of creating wallpapers from Google Maps imagery data.

Before we get going, we need to know the exact resolution of our desktop screen. Right click anywhere on the Desktop and choose Properties. Open the Settings tab and take a note of your screen resolution. If you have an extended dual screen, you need to multiply that width by a factor of 2. I use a dual monitor so the desktop wallpaper dimensions would be 1680*2 by 1050 pixels in my case.

Now let's get to the actual process of making a desktop wallpaper background from the satellite images available in Google Maps (or any other mapping services like Yahoo! Maps or Windows Live)

Step 1. Search the location on Google Maps by typing the city name, state or country. You then right click any area of the Google Map and select "Center Map here". This will be your starting point. (we use Statue of Liberty, New York) for our example.

Step 2. Maximize the view area of Google Maps - Press F11 to open your browser in Full Screen mode.

Step 3. Capture screenshots - You save a snapshot of the Google Map as an image using Print Screen or any screen capture program. Then pan right (or left) a couple of times so as to slide the map in that direction but make sure the new image has some overlapping area with the previous screenshot. [The panning arrows are in the extreme top left corner pointing to four different directions]

Capture the Google Map again and save it to a different file. Repeat the process until you saved some five different images.

Step 4. Stitch all the Google Maps' images saved in the previous step. You may use GIMP, Photoshop, MS Paint, AutoStitch or any Panorama software to stitch the various Google Maps photographs into one composite wallpaper. If you have SnagIt, the SnagIt Editor allows you to insert any number of images that you can drag around to fit the layout.

Crop the stitched image to match your desktop screen resolution that we noted in the very first step. That's it.
If you have time, you can extend the desktop wallpaper idea to create very large wall posters from Google Images for your room.

Also see: Find Date when Google Maps Images were Taken

Legal Issues: Google Maps Terms of Use

You may not delete or in any manner alter the copyright, trademark, or other proprietary rights notices appearing in map information, including photographic imagery. You may not use the imagery in any commercial or business environment or for any commercial or business purposes for yourself or any third parties.

I hope this is agreement with Google Maps TOS as long as we preserve the copyright information on the map and don't use it for commercial purpose (like you cannot sell Google Maps wallpaper).

Also see: Create Time-Lapse with Google Street View