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Update: Google Maps Labs now contains some aerial imagery. Please expand this article to include accessing that imagery.

Google recently released a product called 'Google Building Maker' which uses aerial imagery taken in select cities to create 3D models of buildings.

This article discusses how the aerial imagery can be retrieved.




Firstly, each location will have multiple images (e.g. different orientations and angles), and the list of the images for a specified latitude and longitude can be found by navigating to: http://cbk0.google.com/gpix?req=assets&format=2&type=2&lat=<your_latitude_here>&lon=<your_longitude_here>&alt=0&radius=50&callback=callback

The format parameter can be set to either 1 or 2, format 1 uses lat/long location while format 2 uses UTM easting/northings. All other parameters are required or else the servers will respond with 'Bad Request' HTTP Header. This will return a javascript script in the form of: callback && callback(<json_data_here>). Using regex you can extract the json data with each image inside the json object 'images', and retrieve the image_id parameter to use next.

The imagery is available in tiles similar to Google Maps, so once you have picked a image_id, retrieve each tile with: http://cbk0.google.com/gpix?req=tile&image_id=<your_image_id>&zoom=2&x=0&y=0 Use the zoom, x and y parameters to get all tiles for the zoom level. Zoom 0 & Zoom 1 has a black region as the image is smaller than the tile. Zoom 5 is the maximum zoom level.

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