For the application of remote sensing, a satellite imaging of an urban land cover is required. The image I require is readily available in Google Maps.

Who must I contact to receive permission to include a portion of the map as a figure in my paper?

  • 13
    Side note, in case it is of help to you: Google doesn't produce these images, but they are usually taken from national surveys. In my region (and I assume this will be true pretty much everywhere), the original data had much more resolution than that available in Google Maps.
    – Davidmh
    Oct 7 '16 at 7:10
  • 1
    @Davidmh: That's great to know. How do you find the original data though?
    – user541686
    Oct 8 '16 at 22:11
  • 1
    @Mehrdad you would have to contact the country's geological survey or equivalent. I got mine through my father, who works as an architect for the town, so I suggest asking your local architect, land surveyor, transportation engineer, or similar.
    – Davidmh
    Oct 9 '16 at 8:42
  • 1
    Also: if you can see cars, you aren't using satellite image, they are taken from planes. If you are ok with satellite resolution (rough outliers of streets) you can go directly to the source (NASA or ESA), that are public.
    – Davidmh
    Oct 9 '16 at 8:47

Why, of course you should contact Google. More precisely, the Google Permissions page states that it is okay to use Google Map images for the purposes of research assuming that you provide proper attributions.

  • 9
    I do not understand this answer very well for several reasons: what does "why, of course" is supposed to mean? Also, you point that "of course" one should contact Google, then immediately after point to a source stating that proper attribution is sufficient for research purposes, hence contact is not necessary. I suggest rewriting this. Oct 7 '16 at 21:51
  • 9
    He was being humorous by implying that "Contact Google" is the same as using Google to answer his question.
    – Chaotic
    Oct 7 '16 at 22:29
  • 4
    Oh, I see now, that didn't cross my mind. But I still think that first "Why, of course" is sounding very strange and might make the pun hard to understand. Oct 7 '16 at 23:12
  • 6
    @gilberto.agostinho.f "why, of course" just means "definitely". Oct 8 '16 at 2:59
  • 2
    @gilberto.agostinho.f Putting "why" at the start of the sentence like this is almost meaningless but suggests a small amount of surprise: you could parse it as "Why do you need to ask?" Oct 8 '16 at 11:52

You may need to discuss this with your publisher as well. My own papers never include any diagrams other than self-made line-drawings so I'm not super-familiar with journal requirements. However, I've noticed in passing that they usually seem to require explicit written permission from the owner of any copyrighted material you include in your paper. Google's permissions page says that Google will not give explicit written permission, which could be a problem.


Is there a reason that it must come from Google maps? You may have better luck using Open Street Map. OSM has fairly liberal licensing, all you need to do is credit OSM Contributors.

  • +1: It might not be a direct answer to the question, but a pretty good suggestion nonetheless.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Oct 8 '16 at 16:20
  • 1
    The question specifically talks about satellite imaging, which Open Street Map doesn't seem to offer. So, while I'm all for answering "How do I do X?" with "Don't do X -- do Y, which achieves the same thing", Y doesn't seem to do the same thing in this case. Oct 8 '16 at 18:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.