Using Google Maps satellite layers as custom imagery on OSM?


I am trying to use Google Maps satellite layers as custom imagery on OSM. To do this, I clicked on the layers button on OSM and then clicked on “Custom” at the bottom and entered the Google URL which should be used to pull the image tiles. This is the URL:{x}&y={y}&z={z}

However, this doesn’t work, because after saving this URL, it is no longer possible to choose the “Custom” option and instead when you click it, the choice reverts to “None”. What am I doing wrong? Is the URL not correct?

Assuming you mean in the online map editor (“iD”), this is not allowed. Google doesn’t give permission to copy from their imagery.

When you signed up for OSM, you will have seen this page which states “Unless you have special permission, don’t copy from online or paper maps”.


That may well be true. But it makes sense in terms of unfair competition. Google spends lots of money on satellite and street-view imagery. They allow anybody to look at those, but they do not allow you to use them to create data that can be used to compete with them in the directions market.

I do my best to not get too pedantic: Tracing from aerial or filling in details from street-view in my opinion is not copying in the sense of copyright. It is competition law that provides a sound base for google to claim exclusive use in making maps off of them.