You’ve probably used Google Maps for driving directions. But have you tried using it for your case? From a litigation standpoint, there is no quicker and easier way to start building useful demonstratives for your client than with Google Maps and its relative Google Earth. The tech know-how required is pretty minimal, and the payoff can be big.
This post will help you get started making do-it-yourself graphics for your case using these Google mapping tools, and will reveal some lesser-known features that can give attorneys an edge in preparing and presenting their case.
Can I legally use images from Google Maps and Google Earth?
First, let’s deal with some of the legal stuff. Google obviously is rightfully cautious of their copyright interest in these products, but luckily for professional presentations, Google states as follows: “You may use Google Maps and Google Earth for reports, presentations, proposals, and related items professional documents. We request you still retain attribution.” If you use any image from Google Maps or Earth, you should include the logos and other data identifying Google as the source. However, if you intend to use the image outside your business, you may need a Google Pro License, which is about $399 per year (“If your business is looking to use Google Earth for any external purpose, you will need to license Google Earth Pro. Examples of external use include using screen captures from Google Earth in reports and presentations or otherwise creating materials that will be displayed or distributed outside of your organization.”) If you’re still unsure about the legality of using the images, check out the Google permissions page to determine if your particular use is allowed.
How can Google Maps help my case?
While most everyone reading this post has used Google Maps to find a street address, and perhaps route the address for driving, Google Maps also provide some handy features for use in litigation as well. You can easily use Google Maps to create a diagram that shows the incident of a location. Google Maps allows you to type in any address in the U.S. and most of the world to reveal a well-drawn map of that area.