There are a few nice tools, which help you to get your map larger than the screen of your desktop. However, all of them are predominantly focused on Google Maps, which is the most popular interactive map platform. If you want to have your Google Map bigger than your screen, even up to 12000x12000Px resolution you can use for instance Google Maps Server or Universal Map Downloader. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, as you have an additional tool to install on your device, although whatever is better for you. This tool is good anyway. I would personally advise using some web-based tool instead, which will work on the same basis.
In my point of view, the best way of capturing Google Maps larger than my screen is using the web-based Google Maps Customizer, which is very convenient to use. Apart from the standard map dimension changes, you can also do some basic customizations of your map (Pic. 2, 3) visible also in the permalink.
When everything is ready, you can save the map by using the FireShot plugin for Chrome and selecting the “Capture entire page” option, as shown below (Pic. 4).
Next, you can save your image by selecting the .png or .pdf format (Pic. 5).
In the end, I would like to show you some examples I did by using this tool (Pic. 6, 7).
Interesting is the option with the “Custom URL“. You can copy any other interactive map and paste it into this box. It should work, although not necessarily. Some of the websites might be blocked there, making the maps displayed not correctly (Pic. 8).
You can make a try, but remember that the primary goal of this tool is Google Maps, so don’t anticipate, that all other interactive maps included will work correctly. If we want to make sure, that the output from the map service other than Google (i.e. OpenStreetMaps and so on) will hit our expectations, we should use Mozilla Firefox developer tools. This is a great help that comes from the Firefox browser, which includes the large-screen capture option when you toggle the Responsive Design Mode (RDM) as pointed out in this thread. In my case, it works perfectly (Pic. 9, 10). I tried with 4000x6000Px size, but the maximum size is 9999x9999Px.
Before you enjoy your large-map captures, make sure, that they are loaded properly! As you expand the resolution, the browser will need more time to load the map. Just in case, you can use the sliders and check the loading process. The map should be always clear and sharp. If you have some pixelated, blurred, or blank areas, then apparently you need to wait. See an example below, showing how your map might look if you capture it too early (Pic. 11).
If you don’t use the Mozilla Firefox browser, you can use the same option available in Google Chrome, which has been described here or here. There are effectively two steps to do so. First, you right-click and select “Inspect“, then select the responsive icon and set the dimensions. The second step is clicking Crtl+Shift+P and selecting “Capture full-size screenshot“. Unfortunately, this option does not always work. If your Chrome browser suddenly stops without Save As dialog box, then there is only one reasonable option available assuming, that you want to do it not programmatically. Sadly, it’s not possible to use any kind of interactive map. The privileged maps must have an export option available. Since you can export the visible map canvas straight from the portal, then it’s possible to make it larger than your device screen.
The rule is simple – just click the “Crtl -“ at once in order to zoom out your map. Keep doing it until you are able to see the icons in the map panel. It can be preferably 50% of your original zoom (Pic. 7).
Obviously, same as mentioned above, let your map be fully loaded. When you are using the biggest zoom level on your map, it can be quite misleading for two main reasons:
– your map has a lot of detail, which requires more time to load
– the difference between the biggest zoom levels isn’t spectacular, so you might not notice which area has been already loaded, and which has not yet
Your attention should be drawn by some blank areas (Pic. 13), especially the pixelated or blurry regions.
Try always to take a look at the very bottom, where you should spot some alert informing you, that map is still loading.
If everything is alright, you should get a map larger than the standard format exported. The quality will be saved, which is the best proof you can see below (Pic. 15).
Concluding everything should be fine in this case. See my examples below from the CityOfLondon.gov.uk interactive map portal based on the Ordnance Survey topographic maps (Pic. 16 – 18).
Sometimes you may exaggerate with the zoom-out level. If, for instance, you wish to get some maps not necessarily in the standard graphic format (.png or .jpg), but for example .geotiff then it’s some likelihood, that the mapping server will return an error. The reason is simple, the map canvas is too large to proceed in the given format, as the size of the downloaded file might be restricted. Remember about it and please do not exceed the zoom-out level that much.
Concluding I have shown you effectively three options to capture your map larger than displayed on your device. As the best, I would like to suggest you use the Mozilla Firefox browser feature, which gives you the rough resolution of the map you want to download. You can be also sure, that nothing is going to happen along the way unlike in other ways considered.
- Universal Map Downloader
- How to capture/print a large Google map – larger than the screen?
- How do you make a map bigger than the screen?