I'm wondering if the 'imagery' basemap available in ArcMap 10 can be used as part of a figure in a scientific publication? If it can't are there any alternatives, using QGIS for example?

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    Regardless of the permissions issue, I would caution against using basemaps in peer-reviewed scientific publications for quality reasons. Most basemaps are delivered at around 100 dpi with fairly noticeable JPEG artifacts, while most journals request figures rendered at 300 dpi or better. For this reason, I tend to spend the time tracking down the orthoimagery directly (when freely available) when used in publication-quality graphics. – dmahr Jun 5 '13 at 11:47
  • Apart from MODIS and Landsat imagery which lack the spatial resolution for my figure, can you suggest any other sources of imagery that I could investigate? – JPD Jun 5 '13 at 15:15
  • Where is your study area? And what resolution do you need? In the US, most state GIS offices have some freely available orthos. – dmahr Jun 5 '13 at 16:06
  • In this case it is a national park on the border of Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Pretty obscure I know, so probably explains why I can't find any imagery. – JPD Jun 6 '13 at 8:05
  • Do or don't, there are still issues with how correct these basemaps are. I found ESRI's "Imagery" to be very out of standard in some parts of the world. At some zoom levels, the imagery is not up to date (more than 7 years old!) and the stitching between two images with a big time gaps makes for very embarrassing results. In short, it's apparently OK for publication use, but PLEASE double check the basemap beforehand. – HDunn Jun 7 '13 at 8:21

I just found this ArcGIS Forum Discussion that suggests that you should be able to but you will need to follow the advice therein about how to cite and where to find Terms of Use for the particular basemap(s) you are intending to use.

  • I'd still er on the side of print quality as mentioned by @dmahr ... test out print of the size you're going to publish and see how it turns out...smaller images might look better than wall maps at 300dpi! – DPSSpatial Jun 5 '13 at 16:55

I found this page about the ESRI World Imagery basemap with links to a Summary and Terms of Use. The Summary says "You May: Include screen captures or a printed or plotted maps in the following ways... In academic publications (research journals, textbooks, etc.)"

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