Plotting Specimens Localities Using Mesquite’s Cartographer and Google Maps Saver

Screen shot of Mesquite using Cartographer

Screen shot of Mesquite using Cartographer

I have finally succeeded in producing what I think will be good distribution maps for publications using Mesquite’s Cartographer. This took me a long time (I have been using Mesquite for many years) but that is no fault of Cartographer. I wasn’t happy with the look and resolution of the maps and the problem was with the base-maps. I tried various image files that I could download or maps that I could scan, but I had trouble with formats, calibration and the output just wasn’t what I wanted. What I really wanted was the look of Google Maps terrain maps, but at a much higher resolution than what you get with a screen capture. Being too cheap to fork out the $400 for Google Earth Pro (not sure if that gives you access to terrain maps anyway) I gave up for a time. Today I decided to dig in and try again. Lo and behold, I found Google Maps Saver, a program that will allow you to save Google Maps at any resolution your system can handle. Using Cartographer is easy (just follow the steps on the website), GMS is super simple and both programs are freely available. Here is a mockup of a map I whipped up. Be sure to click to full resolution. I would be happy to see what you think if you feel like leaving a comment.

Modified in Adobe Illustrator: nqld not plot 1 mockup

Modified in Adobe Illustrator: nqld not plot 1 mockup


About Kip Will

I'm an insect systematist with expertise in carabid beetles, who is always happiest in the bush.
This entry was posted in Entomology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Plotting Specimens Localities Using Mesquite’s Cartographer and Google Maps Saver

  1. Karl says:

    As it always seems to be with Mesquite, there’s always something that doesn’t work for me, or at least is extremely difficult to figure out – it won’t let me add taxa to groups as directed in the instructions (though I can create them), so I can’t change the symbols. Also, with markers labelled, the labels overlap the markers for some reason; there doesn’t seem to be any way to fix that aside from getting rid of the labels. Your map looks great though!

  2. Publishers may be weary of including maps generated from Google Map layers because the restrictive terms of use:

    “Unless you have received prior written authorization from Google (or, as applicable, from the provider of particular Content), you must not: (a) copy, translate, modify, or make derivative works of the Content or any part thereof; (b) redistribute, sublicense, rent, publish, sell, assign, lease, market, transfer, or otherwise make the Products or Content available to third parties;”

    • Kip Will says:

      It is always a bit murky. One has to burrow into the legal fine print and then you can see that Google always leaves the gate open for them to do what they want.
      see there they say…”Fair use is a concept under copyright law in the U.S. that, generally speaking, permits you to use a copyrighted work in certain ways without obtaining a license from the copyright holder. There are a variety of factors that affect whether your use of Content would be considered fair use, including the purpose and character of your use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount of the copyrighted material used, and the effect of your use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work. For example, there are differences between use in a for-fee service and use in a work of scholarship, or the use of a single map screenshot and the use of detailed map images for an entire country. There are similar, although generally more limited, concepts in other countries’ copyright laws, including a concept known as “fair dealing” in a number of countries. That all being said…

      Please do not request that we interpret whether your use of Content is fair use.”

    • Kip Will says:

      Also, I am looking into this public domain raster set. I will see how is goes.

  3. Kip Will says:

    Sadly, neither the WeoGeo nor the NASA ( images come close to looking as good as the Google Maps basemap. If I am stuck with clearly public domain maps then prospects are again limited.

  4. Pingback: Public domain base map | pterostichini

  5. Samantha says:

    What a useful entry! I was also struggling with Mesquite as I couldn’t get any map with proper resolution. But after reading your post I have used GMS to get the maps from Google Maps and now they look so good. Thank you so much!!

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