Is there web mapping tool that allows developers to use it to plot GPS data of autonomous vehicles/robots?

Google Maps forbids it. See 10.2.C. Google Earth terms of use link jumps to the same page. Bing Maps looks the similar (see 3.2.(g)).

What I want is a internet-based tool that shows either/both satellite images and/or map, which can overlay plot using its API. I'm making a generic GPS plotter on ROS that could be used both for slow robots or fast vehicles/cars.



3 Answers 3


I'd summarize my read of both of those as:

  • Don't use our logic to provide turn by turn navigation to vehicles
  • Don't use our maps for business asset tracking unless you've signed a commercial use agreement

Hard to tell if your use case described violates either of these terms. In any case, check out http://www.openstreetmap.us/.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for "proof read". I re-read again and agreed that they don't sound to prohibit plotting itself. $\endgroup$
    – IsaacS
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 22:03

Google Earth exists for precisely this purpose: overlaying your own data on a map. You simply write scripts to translate (or export) your data into KML format then add the URL to Google Earth like so:

Add network link
(source: woopra.com)

With regard to terms of use: the terms of use for Google Earth only forbid you to use the software to control the behavior of your vehicle, not to represent its past behavior. (Their concern is most likely to limit their liability from you trying to draw a path on a road in GE for a robot to follow, and having it crash into something due to a map inaccuracy.)

As quasi-proof, I wrote a mission planner with Google Earth at one point (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK0wWH9Ijnk) which I showed to the Google Earth team; they were fine with it. They also put me in touch with a team at NASA that uses Goole Earth for this purpose. I'm led to believe that such usage is allowed since I'm only generating mission scripts and not interacting with the autonomy.

  • $\begingroup$ Confirmed: We use this feature for plotting data from our field experiments. Highly recommended. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thx for the post. However I am asking about terms of use, not about feature. $\endgroup$
    – IsaacS
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 22:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I've updated the answer with my ToS experience with the Google Earth team. TL;DR, you're fine. $\endgroup$
    – Ian
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ My impression is your case was fine with Google b/c it's cool $\endgroup$
    – IsaacS
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 9:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I doubt that a company as big as Google has exemptions in their legal process for projects that they decide are "cool". Here's a KMZ file from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute that does what you're talking about, and more: habcam.whoi.edu/HabCamData/GoogleEarth/… $\endgroup$
    – Ian
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 15:45

The Rock framework has such a widget (based on OpenPilot/GCS).






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