How to Take Pictures for Google Maps

by James Highland
Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images

Google Maps is a versatile tool for exploring the geography of the world. The service is free and provides many features such as mapped street directions, while a satellite layer provides aerial photography. Google Maps also features thousands of photographs submitted by users. These photos are tagged with a certain location and show the varied events and weather experienced by different people in a given area. It is possible for anyone to take photos and submit them to Google for possible inclusion on Google Maps. Not all photos are approved, however.

Step 1

Take photos of any location. The photos can include buildings, monuments, restaurants, scenery, or any other useful identifying characteristic of the place.

Step 2

Transfer the photos to your computer. For most digital cameras, this involves a USB cable connected between the camera and the computer.

Step 3

Visit the Panoramio website and register for an account at This Google-affiliated website is the front-door for sharing geographical photos of the world. The user-submitted photos which appear on Google mapping services such as Google Earth and Google Maps, are first submitted through Panoramio.

Step 4

Upload the photos to Panoramio using your Panoramio account.

Step 5

Map the photos in the Panoramio website. This process is necessary for Google to understand where the pictures were taken, and how to associate them with real locations. You can map a photo by clicking the map image on the website, or searching for an address, city, or landmark. Exact coordinates may also be entered into the address field for mapping using that method.

Proceed to upload additional photos over time, if desired. There is no guarantee that Google will approve all photos. However, in order for them to be valid candidates, all photos must be mapped to locations in Panoramio. You will know if a photo has been included in Google services when a note appears under the photo while you are logged into Panoramio. The note will indicate that the photo is selected and will identify which Google services now include it.


  • Photos with inappropriate content are likely to not be included in Google Maps. Enhance the chances for your photos' acceptance by taking interesting pictures that both look nice, but also reflect useful details of the location. Unique angles and images of specific events will make your photo stand out. A photo of a rare music festival in a park, for example, will show off aspects of the location not present in other photos. This would make it a useful addition to the Google Maps library of images for a given location.


Photo Credits

  • Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

James Highland started writing professionally in 1998. He has written for the New York Institute of Finance and He has an extensive background in financial investing and has taught computer programming courses for two New York companies. He has a Bachelor of Arts in film production from Indiana University.

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