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Given the google api displaying a map on some site with layer 'A' on top of it. How can I create a GIS file for layer A (as simply as possible of course)?

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Can you give us an example of what layer A could be? If it's Google's data, then you may be a violation of Google's Terms of Service by downloading and re-using their data. If the data are from some public source, then you may be able to get it straight from the source. See – katahdin Feb 26 '13 at 13:56
Yes, it's a publicly available layer from some government office, which I legally can download and redistribute. However, they don't give me the layer in GIS format, so I need to do some sort of hacking to get it. :) – gkdm Feb 26 '13 at 16:46
If you don't mind telling us what the data are, even giving a reference to the source, then someone could show you exactly what to do. Someone may have even already written a script to extract those data for a similar purpose. – katahdin Feb 26 '13 at 16:51
I'd guess you're dealing with a WMS. A quick trawl through the site's JS source should give enough clues on how to reference it within a desktop GIS suite. However assuming they are only providing WMS (or similar) and not WFS (or similar) you won't be downloading raw data, only its styled representation in image tiles. – tomfumb Feb 26 '13 at 17:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Only the Static Maps API and Google Map Maker (Select Countries) are available to download. (Unless you have an Android based tablet or android phone which can download up to 5 areas)

You can create your own paths, markers with the static API

Map Maker Countries are available from (but read the terms and conditions) This data is in KML and Shapefile formats

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The short answer is you can't. Unless, however, the site has a ftp file transfer set up for downloading from their site. Just like the ortho image layer in google maps, it is being rendered by your browser client from a backend data store but is not accessible through google maps as the data directory is not available to your client.

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