[R-sig-Geo] Rights to publish data based on Google satellite images in scientific journals?

Tomislav Hengl hengl at spatial-analyst.net
Thu Jul 23 15:28:47 CEST 2015

Hi Hanna,

I am aware of several journal articles where Google data is used in 
figures (e.g. 
take especially a look at: http://www.jstatsoft.org/v63/i04/paper

The Google Geo guidelines say:

"You may print Content from Maps and Earth for personal use and enlarge 
it. In all uses where print will be distributed, first be sure to read 
our FAQ on applicable product Terms of Service and fair use. Second, all 
uses must properly show attribution to both Google and our data 
providers. Please see our attribution page for more information... No 
explicit permission is required for your print project. We are unable to 
sign any letter or contract specifying that your project has our 
explicit permission."

My guess is that, as long as you clearly show Google and other (C) signs 
you should be fine.

Few times I've tried to upload some plotKML screenshots to Wikimedia 
Commons but they have removed them 
so any screenshot you make with Google data is definitively not in 
public domain.

The publisher will be able to tell you more, but as far as I know 
companies such as Elsevier even support using web-maps:


But why not use OpenStreetMap for this? See 
https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/OpenStreetMap/ and/or 

OpenStreetMap you can even combine with KML and then embed in websites 
etc (see e.g. 


T. Hengl

On 23-7-2015 14:05, Hanna Meyer wrote:
> Dear all,
> Please excuse that my question is not about R in the first place but I
> guess it's still a good place to ask this question.
> I downloaded google satellite images via the dismo R package. With the
> RGB values of the images I did a land cover classification.
> Now I wonder whether I can use the results for a publication in a
> scientific journal.
> Though a number of publications using the data in a similar way exist,
> according to the terms of service of google maps it is not allowed to
> produce derived products.
> However, if the project falls under the term of "fair use" it might be
> possible (http://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html).
> On the google maps API terms of service they highlight that the created
> products (https://developers.google.com/maps/terms) must be freely
> available which would be the case.
> Do you have any experiences about this issue?
> Best regards
> Hanna

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