The US government offers a free download of the HRO (High-Resolution Orthoimagery) or NAIP (National Agriculture Imagery Program) raw geodata to the general public, without limits for use.
These are very high detailed images taken from the airplane - similar in quality to the Google Satellite layer in many places of the USA.
You can download these aerial images from the USGS download service and process them with MapTiler to create a zoomable aerial map quickly. There are few things that you need to set up in MapTiler for perfect result. This tutorial demonstrate the process of turning the raw downloaded data into map tiles.
Processing in steps
- Visit https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/basic/
- Choose “Imagery - 1 foot (HRO)”
- Zoom or Find a place on the map which you need (be sure you really zoom in)
- Click on “Find Products”
- Choose the one you want and click on “Download”
- Unpack the downloaded zip - to see individual files (important is the .jp2)
- Install on your computer MapTiler - from downloads section
- Start MapTiler - choose “Standard Tiles”, drag and drop in the .jp2 file, click on “Choose bands” and “Ignore alpha channel (4th band)”, location and coordinate system should be autodetected
- Follow with “Continue”, choose output (MBTiles or folder, mobile app or upload to cloud hosting on Amazon S3 or Google), confirm with “Render” and select where to store the tiles on your computer
- Finished! You have got your perfectly GPS aligned map - ready to be used on the web or in mobile apps. Experiment with the MapTiler
- This way you get very high-detailed imagery - compatible with OpenMapTiles, where you can see even parking lots in high details.
Aerial image in MapTiler