Fun with the Terraserver

January 15, 2004 | My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, it’s nothing really innovative. Jef Poskanzer was the first guy I know who did it. Then my friend Jeff Eaton did it. Now I’ve done it: write a program to loot images of of Microsoft’s TerraServer.

Basically I wrote a simple Python script that when given a latitude/longitude in the US, constructs an
html page that consists of 25 tiles (1000×1000) pixels surrounding that location from the terraserver.
This is pretty straightforward, requiring just the computation of the UTM coordinates (which Jef nicely provided, and was easily converted to Python) and then repeatedly accessing several easily constructed URLs to download each tile (four lines of Python). The result works quite well: consider the area around my parking space at Pixar. (The
images are old and show the old canning plant that was torn down to make the new Pixar
campus, as well as a road which is now gone).

My next project is to make a 20,000 pixel high image of the entirety of California.

Addendum: You can see the area around the Golden Gate Bridge too.

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