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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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3 Answers 3

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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Maybe you should look for screenshot.net which provides a free online app to capture webpage or anything else on your screen. Since it does not require installation, you could use it right-away.

Just go to visit the site and hit the "Take Screenshot" icon to activate screen capture (Allow Java to run on your browser). And then, drag a region on your Google Map to generate the screenshot. You could even make comments and annotations on it. Upon the creation of the image, just save it in desired format or upload to cloud space for free. Read more details about screenshot on Google Map.

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