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Google Maps Export

 8:16 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

I need a way to export Google Maps results into a
CSV or even text file.

For example, if I search for plumbers in Detroit, MI there are 2,046 results. Is there a way to export the first 200 or so listings?

If so how hard is this to make?



 8:32 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WW!

You should probably review Google's Terms of Serive before you try to do that. It sounds like a very gray area.


 8:55 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is it really a violation?

I can just manually click through the pages and write all of the information down, but I'm not allowed to automate getting the information?

I'm just trying to save some time.


 9:42 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you should help us understand why you need all 2046 results and what you plan to do with them.


 1:04 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sure. I'm trying to pre-populate a directory of business services.

So in my example with the plumbers in Detroit. I want to get a list of the first 200 plumbers that show up in Google maps for Detroit with their names, addresses and phone numbers.

If I have to, I can manually type them all in but I'd prefer to automate it.


 1:18 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

What you are suggesting toddo14 is theft. Regardless of the method of copying you are taking the product of someone else's labor, without compensation to the creator, for your own benefit.

It's a violation of their TOS and local law.


 1:27 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

actually, it is a gray area. using an automated means to copy that data is most likely against their TOS, but in general, obtaining the name/address information (which are presumably just facts) could be ok. facts aren't copyrightable:


suggest you talk to a lawyer.


 1:35 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

True, facts cannot be copywritten. But there are ways to get facts without stealing other people's work. Like, for example, one could check with their state for a list of companies who have been given a plumbers license. That data is public.

javahava has the best advice: talk to a lawyer.


 3:44 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to pre-populate a directory of business services.

Is it really a violation?

Um, yes. Basically, you are doing what is known as scraping- going to other sites and automatically downloading the information contained in those sites to use on your own site. There's a reason Google (and others) don't want you to do this, which is why it is explicitly prohibited in their Terms of Service.


 4:42 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ok, nevermind I didn't intend for this to get out of control and have people accusing me of theft. I'm not trying to steal anything, just gather information on some local businesses.

I can just flip through the Yellow Pages and get the information manually. No big deal.


 5:59 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Since you haven't done it yet, I haven't accused you of anything. I'm only letting you know that what you are considering could result in those accusations. As mentioned by others, those accusations (if they come) may be groundless in your local jurisdiction.

But consider this scenario:
You finish your site. It takes about 20 hours to copy down names and numbers. It took another 60 hours to call each business, confirm their number, and find out their hours of operation (to add value to the site). Within minutes of posting the site, a robot scrapes the site and the next day you discover a brand new local directory site online that contains the same data you posted.

How do we label the action of scraping your site and reposting the data?
An act of "saving time" or an act of theft?

I think that expression "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" only goes so far -- you may disagree. ::shrugs:: Good luck with your project.


 12:27 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well I agree that I would be bummed if someone came through and scraped out my site's content but not really a big deal if the information is public domain.

A business' name, address and phone number is readily available from a number of sources (yellow pages, online, etc.) Do you think that Yellow Pages or in this case Google Maps owns that information? For example, if I didn't automate acquiring the information and instead wrote it all down by hand and manually entered it, would that be theft?

If I were starting an online competitor to YellowPages.com (which is not what I'm doing), how would you suggest that I go about entering businesses? It seems silly to think that with all of the advances in technology that I would have to manually key-in everything.


 2:56 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've dug myself deeper into the legalities of this matter than I should have. We'll just say "talk to a lawyer" as far as the legality of what you are considering.

As far as the appropriateness/morality of it, that's something you must decide for yourself. The truth is that someone had to do the work of collecting and organizing those facts for the sources you've mentioned. They should get to decide how their work is used. If I want the same facts, then I can collect them the same way they had to collect them.

I've built a local directory site before and, although I have the technical skill to do so, I didn't scrape Google Maps, Citysearch, or any other site. It would have been easy but it wouldn't have been right.

I used a combination of public records (most businesses are licensed by the state and that data is freely available) and manually/physically checking (driving around with a laptop). Was it harder? Yes. In the end did I have better data than the people I could have scraped from? Yes.


 4:17 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, Google's Terms prohibit automated queries

use any robot, spider, site search/retrieval application, or other device to retrieve or index any portion of Google services or collect information about users for any unauthorized purpose;

BUT, the Google Maps API offers exactly what you want. Although you can not collect the data to populate your database, you can just display the current data straight from Google which should serve your purpose.

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