Extreme Zoom Close-Ups in Google Maps

So I just read this article about how some areas on the Google map have extremely hi-res images, but aren’t offered by default. But guess what… this can be changed by simply changing a value in the URL string.

Wanna see how it works??? Follow these directions:

  1. Go to http://maps.google.com/
  2. Paste these Latitude/Longitude coordinates in: 15.298683 19.429651
  3. Once the map loads, change the view from Map view by clicking on the Satelite button
  4. You should get something that looks like this:
    Google Map Normal View
  5. Now, the URL in the address bar should still read: http://maps.google.com/
  6. Press the “Link to this page” button (or click below) and the URL will change to: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=15.298683+19.429651&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=13&om=1&iwloc=addr
  7. Notice the bold parameter &z=13 – this apparently represents the zoom level, and can be adjusted. 13 is the maximum default zoom that the slider will allow.
  8. Change the &z= parameter to 15, 18, 20, 23, or anything else (keep in mind that the image will not appear if you go beyond the available zoom level)
  9. If you don’t see &t=k anywhere in the URL, just add it to the end – don’t ask me what this does, but it works! Press go!
  10. If you don’t want to do all that, click here to see an extreme satellite closeup of a camel in the African desert.
    Google Map Extreme Closeup

If you have any other amazing pictures you find on Google Maps, post links here. I’m curious to see if Google gets into any privacy problems with this.


After doing a little bit of research, there are apparently a quite a few hi-res areas scattered all over Google Maps. Click here to see more.

5 thoughts on “Extreme Zoom Close-Ups in Google Maps”

  1. Some notes:

    * once you zoom out, you cant zoom back in.

    * following the steps above, I got to the step #6 URL… but my URL also contained the string “&ll=15.312333,19.429665&spn=0.134772,0.296631”, which wouldn’t allow me to do anything with the zoom. Upon removing that section of the URL, I was able to get to the high res image. Try removing the &ll and &spn variables and see if it makes a difference

    * a zoom level of anything of 23 or more is pretty damn cool

    * anyone have a list of GET variables used by google maps?

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