How to Print a Large Map: Google Map Buddy

Google Map has been great for planning, simulating our trip so far, but I find Google Map sucks at printing. Well, it does have good printing view, like step-by-step route view (shows where to turn, etc), but you can’t really print one large map with sufficient details. You have to print one map that covers everywhere without any detail (which become pretty useless during trip), and have multiple detailed map with big margin. Screen capture and merging them will work, but take ages.

Then I found this great tool: Google Map Buddy

Buddy is really easy to use. Buddy lets you simply drag the area you want to “capture”, and select zoom level, and press OK. That simple. You will get nice large png image file. If you are not happy about zoom level, you can simply change it and make another png until you are happy. This is basically automated version of “screen-capture and merging them”, so if you zoom too much, it will take forever to process. 🙂 So you want to start small.

I made LA map as trial. here is entire image.



I tried several zoom level, but this one looks good. file size is about 3.5 MB.



Then I print it to A3 paper. I want to adjust more, but this might be already good enough. Laminating this could also be good idea too.




If you want map for famous city, you can just buy map in book store, but if you want map for more local location, and don’t want to purchase one of those big fat map book that covers everywhere, then this is certainly nice choice. Or, if you are like me, who is living outside of that country, it is just difficult to buy a map beforehand.

Another plus is, you can make your map in your own language. I am making English one to make it clean map, but if you are going to really foreign place, you can make your native language version too. Sometimes, some city names are just impossible to pronounce. With little help from native character, like カタカナ, you have better chance to pronounce it right. (Most US cities are ok, but for example, there are many Russian cities which I have no idea how to pronounce)

There is another tool called Map Grabber, but I find Buddy easier and more intuitive. Instead of letting you select entire region first, Map Grabber first lets you select zoom level. Then you select size of “one portion”, then you have to enter how many more of this portion you want to x and y axis. OK, I am terrible at explaining this, so try yourself you are curious. 🙂