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Background

People are concerned that building a pipeline to the West Coast of Canada will increase the number of oil tankers, thus increasing the probability of a major oil spill, thereby creating an environmental catastrophe.

The AIS Live Ships Map website captures real-time Marine Traffic updates using a Google Maps interface. While it is possible to obtain data from an AIS data feed, often the feeds are either pay-for-use, or otherwise encumbered with license restrictions.

Problem

The AIS Live Ships website presents a map in the browser:

The map above has had its location interactively changed to focus on the area in question: the northern straight of Vancouver Island.

Question

How would you create a service that captures the map every 30 minutes and that could run, with neither user-intervention nor a significant memory footprint, for a few years?

Idea #1

  1. Create a virtual machine.
  2. Install and run a light-weight browser.
  3. Use Shutter to take captures at regular intervals.

Idea #2

Use Python's Ghost Webkit to automate the captures.

Thank you!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You might also considering using Xvfb (X virtual framebuffer). This has the advantage of being lighter-weight than running a virtual machine, as well as only depending on pretty vanilla software packages.

Searching the web for "xvfb screenshot" should turn up various links on how you might do this.

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This looks like a great option. – Dave Jarvis Jun 18 '12 at 16:18

Maybe look how browsershots did it.

It's a website that lets you create screenshots of websites and they're open-source. I would imagine some useful information can be pulled from their source.

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