Google Maps and Google Earth satellite images can be used to create powerful graphics for natural history and other science writing. Because Google Maps and Google Earth are dynamic interfaces, one must use a ‘screen capture’ approach for downloading the images. Please note that the following directions are written for a Mac (if you have a Windows machine you should be able to follow a similar approach by using the ‘Alt-Print Screen’ command, which prints a screen capture of the active window to disk).
Directions for capturing Google satellite images for use in Word or PowerPoint documents:
1) Choose the Maps option from the Google home page.
2) Type in the name of the city, state locale for which you would like to capture an image, or simply use the Google scroll and zoom tools to home into your desired location.
3) Click on the ‘Satellite’ button in the upper right-hand corner of the image. This will convert the map from a diagrammatic image to satellite imagery.
4) Continue zooming in until you reach the desired resolution.
5) To capture the image, press simultaneously shift-command-4 (the command key is the one with the apple on it). Note how the cursor has changed to a cross-hair icon.
6) Move the cross-hair icon’s position by scrolling to one corner of the image you would like to capture.
7) Hold down the mouse button, and drag diagonally across the image while holding the mouse button down. Notice how the image becomes highlighted as you do so, indicating that you have made a selection of the image.
8) When you let up on the mouse button, a PDF image of the screen capture will be written to the desktop of the computer, and the cursor returns to the normal type. Images captured as such are automatically named in sequential order as ‘Picture 1’, ‘Picture 2,’ etc.
9) To incorporate the image into a Word document, use the ‘Insert . . .Picture . . .From File’
command from the Insert menu.