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Terraserver's Not As Lame As I Thought


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I've never been fond of TerraServer, and didn't understand why GC.com had a link to the fairly useless 20-mile wide images. Zooming in didn't center on the cache, and at the closer levels, the cache location isn't even in the image.


I tried it again today, and with a little manipulation of the URL, discovered something pretty cool.


GCHVXQ, for example, has a TerraServer link to http://terraserver.microsoft.com/image.asp...Lon=-122.355417. If you add a &s=8 to the end of the URL, it actually zooms into the right spot. Some places are more up-to-date and higher resolution than LostOutdoors.com's maps.


Even better, though, is if you click the Info link on the top of the page, it'll drop nearby latitude and longitude lines into the image, making it fairly easy to determine the cache location.


Now if only I could drop a dot on specific coordinates like LostOutdoors.com, I'd never have a no-find again. :unsure:


(Well, I almost said it with a straight face.)

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I always thought they were pretty lame also until I started using USAPhotoMaps. This program allows you to download all the terraserver maps for an area and then zoom in/out and scroll through them as you please. The best part is that you can add waypoints to the terraserver maps. You can even download waypoints from your GPS which means that you to dump the waypoints from a PQ right on top of the terraserver maps. It really works nicely. RM

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thats cool, i didn't realize that terraserver had the new 1m resolution color photos but I guess they do

Wheres the color maps? Are they only available for certain areas?

the usgs only has color photos for major cities. Terraserver only seams to have the color ones for some of the cities that they are made in

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I've been playing with USAPhotoMaps and its absolutely incredible. I can import caches in as way points and copy airel photos with the cache marked on them to my PDA or print them out. Next I want to import Topo data into it. Has anyone done the topo data? If so how hard is it?


Acme mapper is pretty cool because you can overlay a paper map but it doesn't have near the features or the offline capability that usaphotomaps has.

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'Next I want to import Topo data into it. Has anyone done the topo data? If so how hard is it?"


JeepCachr...When you are using USAPhotoMaps to download aerial photos, all you have to do to grab USGS Topos is use two key strokes. Simply hit the "t" key, followed by the "f" key, and it fills the screen with topo mapping. The "t" signifies TOPO, and the 'f' signifies FILL. You can toggle back to aerial photos by keying "p", then 'f'. Pretty cool! I use it all the time with work and play and love it. You can zoom in/out, and pan around as well.


Check out the text file that is available when downloading the program. It gets saved to the C:/Program Files/USAPhotoMaps/ folder. It's titled: USAPhotoMaps.txt



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Tried the Terra-Server and added the &s=8 with no luck. Then tried with &s=10 and it worked!!! It zoomed all the way in and centered the cache location directly in the middle of the page. Thanks for this bit of info!

Cruz if you try USAphoto maps(mentioned above in this thread) to get the terraserver data you will never go back to the web interface again. Not only can you zoom into the cache site. You can import your caches as waypoints and have a point placed precisely on the map where the cache is.

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I have give my two thumbs up to usa photomaps. It's the program that does all the stuff you WISH the other sites/programs did. Topo maps and photos in a clean tidy package. It works super slick. Its freeware, too. I sent the author a few bucks this morning, as a matter of fact...


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USA PhotoMaps doesn't have the super-zoomed in color photos yet. Or am I missing something?

They aren't likely to get them anytime soon either. The data from the terra server is provided freely from the goverment. The color super zoom maps I have seen would be worth paying the $100 a year if you could have a interface like USAphotomaps to go with them.


Thanks for the topo tip Timpat. I guess I thought contour lines and topo information were related when I skimmed the instructions. Their does seem to be some process to getting contour lines inputted but the topo info is very easey.


Now all I need is a way to get more than one screen of data to d/l at a time. Though it soon won't matter as I will have all the data local for the area that I want. If I had wireless internet access then I wouldn't need it local... :D

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I've used Terraserver for getting air photographs of desert facilities built and maintained by organized criminal enterprises. Terraserver will censor official goverment bases -- try looking up Indian Springs, Nevada and notice that the Air Force Base on the North side of the highway is totally missing; also look up Mercury, Nevada, the nuclear test site and note that it's missing -- but Terraserver doesn't censor anything else that I've noticed. So it's good for some of the work I do in the organized crime arena.


Speaking only for myself and these are my opinions only.

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I've been using the TerraServer aerial photography for a long time, both for work and my GPS/Geocaching play. With my GIS/GPS field engineering work in upstate New York I have found every location I've needed, nothing has been blocked. From prison facilities to nuclear power plants to major airports. For anyone interested there are also various State GIS websites that offer free aerial (OrthoPhotos) photos that are georeferenced for download.


Check out our NYS GIS Clearinghouse site here:



These are projected in NYS Plane, NAD83(Feet), so you need to reproject your WGS84 data to overlay. Lots of cool stuff out there!

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