Ever spent hours poring over Google Maps on your computer, studying the route you need to take, only to find yourself a few hours later because you can’t take a copy of the map? In the absence of a map or a cell phone (with network reception) you could find yourself stranded with no idea of the best route to your destination of back home.
GMapCatcher is a great way around this problem, providing a means to browse Google Maps and then download the results to your computer for you to print out. While it is possible to print Google Maps through your browser using the PRINT SCREEN keyboard command, this is fiddly and requires each print to be pasted into an image editor such as Paint. GMapCatcher provides a much more efficient method.
You can get started with this utility by heading over to code.google.com/p/gmapcatcher and getting a copy.
The 8.6 MB download shouldn’t take long to reach your PC, and installation takes a matter of seconds – all you need to do is accept the defaults. Once installation is complete you have the option to launch GMapCatcher straightaway and take advantage of the functions it offers!
After installation, you will be ready to perform a search with GMapCatcher. Before doing this, however, clear the Offline check box.
In the Query area, type the location you wish to view and click OK. By default, GMapCatcher will display the location in Map view, although you can use the drop down menu beneath the OK button to switch between Map, Terrain, Hybrid and Satellite.
With your mouse roller you can scroll in or out of the map – devices without rollers however can use the slider on the left of the map. You may also resize the window by dragging the edges and corners.
Advanced GMapCatcher Functions
GMapCatcher offers some additional functionality to enhance your offline map use. In addition to viewing maps, you might use GPS or select a different map service. To access these functions, go to the Tools button on the left of the search bar.
As well as specifying a size for the map and specifying a directory to save the maps to on the Settings tab you can Change Theme tab to select a different Map service – alongside Google Maps you might choose Yahoo, OpenStreetMap and several others.
Finally on the GPS Options tab you can activate GPS mode, although this is only of any benefit if you have a GPS receiver connected to your PC or laptop.
Downloading and Viewing Maps with GMapCatcher
In order to download your maps with GMapCatcher, first go to the Change Theme tab and select your preferred map service; if you’re planning on using different maps you might check the Use a different folder per Map Service button.
When you have your map, zoomed to the correct degree and positioned how you want it, use the Download button, which will give you the chance to alter the current view by specifying different latitude and longitude options and a different viewing area. If you’re happy with what is on screen, click the Download button. It might take a few minutes but shortly you will have an offline copy of the map you were viewing and you should be able to zoom in and out to a certain degree as well!