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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 google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html. – 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
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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 https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/staticmaps/#Paths

Map Maker Countries are available from https://services.google.com/fb/forms/mapmakerdatadownload/ (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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