globe About ACME Mapper 2.1

This is a high-precision general purpose mapping application, based on Google Maps with a bunch of things added on.

How to Operate the ACME Mapper

The basic map operation is the same as any other Google map:

crosshairs One thing the ACME Mapper adds is the little cross-hairs widget in the middle of the map. This indicates the precise point you are centered on.

control panel In the lower right you have the Control Panel. This lets you do all sorts of stuff. All the controls have 'tooltips', so one way to find out what something does is to move your mouse over that item - a short description will pop up. Or you can read about the controls here:

Some other features:


The original ACME Mapper was an improved front-end for Terraserver, a large geographical image database owned by Microsoft.

When Terraserver launched in 1998, it had aerial/satellite imagery for the entire world, at a resolution of 1 meter/pixel. Shortly after launching they removed everything but the USA images; this was never explained.

Terraserver's user interface is horrible, so I made my own interface that used their map tiles. I called it ACME Mapper and opened it to the public in 2001.

In 2004 Terraserver added high-resolution color images to their database. Coverage was limited to a few large metropolitan areas, but resolution went down to 1/4 meter/pixel, which is very good.

In 2005 Google Maps came out with their own aerial/satellite imagery, covering the whole world at a variety of resolutions, but nowhere better than 1 meter/pixel. Then in 2006, Google Maps added two more zoom levels, giving 1/4 meter resolution - same as Terraserver but much wider coverage. There's also a street map layer, for some countries. Furthermore, Google's maps are being actively maintained and improved, while Terraserver's haven't changed for years. It was time to switch.

The new ACME Mapper 2.1 has basically all the features of the old version, plus the nicer interface and wider coverage of Google Maps. There are also some nice new features such as multiple markers and world-wide place-names.

Questions About the ACME Mapper

What datum do you use?
How accurate is the placement of the cross-hair icon?
It seems to be pretty much dead-on.
Is there a way to measure the distance between two points?
Yes. Place a marker at one point, go to the other point, and then bring up the Markers Panel. It'll tell you the distance from the current location to the marker.
How do you turn addresses into coordinates?
Yahoo! This is called geocoding. I do some searches locally on a variety of databases including ZIP codes, the USGS's GNIS project, and If the local searches don't turn up a result then I forward the query to Google's or Yahoo!'s geocoding service.
If I have links pointing to the ACME Mapper, do I have to update them for the new version?
No, your old links will continue to work exactly as before.
I don't see the old Save Map feature - is it gone?
Unfortunately, yes. Google's current terms of service prohibit fetching map tiles directly and stitching them together into a single image. Perhaps they will offer this capability at some point in the future. Meanwhile, you can always use the Print button and send the output to a file instead of the printer.
Can I still use the old version?
Yes. ACME Mapper 1.0 will stick around until Terraserver breaks something I can't fix. No idea how long that will be. However, you will have to change the URL you use to either or

Known Bugs

ACME Labs / ACME Mapper 2.1 / About