Puerto Rico Imagery

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PR US flags.png  Part of WikiProject Puerto Rico

Default imagery issues

The default imagery provided by the editors iD and JOSM is not the best out there for Puerto Rico. Bing Satellite has a lot of cloud coverage. Mapbox Satellite has fewer cloud coverage but outside the San Juan and Ponce metro areas it doesn't zoom in far enough. Also, maybe most important, those two imagery sources tend to be misaligned.

Recommended imagery for all of Puerto Rico: 2010 USACE Orthophotos

Commissioned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 2010, these aerial orthoimages are not restricted. Unlike regular satellite imagery, orthoimagery lack distortions caused by terrain relief and other factors. A classic example of this distortion are straight roads erroneously shown as displaced curvy roads on mountainous areas. Another important feature about this imagery is that it's not misaligned, so go ahead and edit anywhere worry-free.

Imagery details:

  • Coverage: Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, and Mona Island (only in the WMS version).
  • Resolution: 30 cm (1 ft)
  • Sharpness: Excellent
  • Cloud coverage: about 0% (no clouds)

Adding imagery to iD

Served by ESRI. Enter the iD editor, go to Background settings (shortcut: B), choose Custom and paste the following URL:


Adding imagery to JOSM

Choose either one:

TMS (Tiled Map Service)

Served by ESRI. Go to Imagery>Imagery Preferences and click the plus sign ("+") to add a new TMS. In this window, paste the following URL and set a maximum zoom of 19:


WMS (Web Map Service)

Served by the USGS, slower imagery but shows the same imagery at all zoom levels. Go to Imagery>Imagery Preferences and click the plus sign ("+") to add a new WMS. In this window, paste the following URL in the "Enter Service URL" box:
2010 USACE 30 cm orthoimage. Parque Central, San Juan

Recommended imagery for the San Juan Metro Area: 2013 USACE Orthophotos

Commissioned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 2013, these aerial orthoimages are also not restricted and are not misaligned. Better yet, they have way higher resolution!

Imagery details:

  • Coverage: Great portion of the San Juan Metropolitan Area (i.e. part of Bayamón, Cataño, Guaynabo, and San Juan)
  • Resolution: 10 cm (3.9 in)
  • Sharpness: Excellent
  • Cloud coverage: 0% (no clouds!)

Adding imagery to iD & JOSM

Follow the same instructions listed above for the 2010 USACE imagery but use the following URL (add TMS in JOSM, set maximum zoom to 20):

2013 USACE 10 cm orthoimage. Parque Central, San Juan

Alternative imagery: Mapbox Satellite

On April 2016 the Mapbox Satellite layer was updated for the San Juan and Ponce metro areas. This layer contains imagery as recent as January 2015 and is visible at the highest zoom levels. Mapbox Satellite is already provided on iD and JOSM, just select it from the available options.

Aligning imagery

There may be times that you'll want to use Bing or Mapbox imagery because it's more recent than the USACE 2010 imagery. To solve the imagery misalignment issue, use the "New offset" solution in JOSM by doing the following:

  1. Add Bing or Mapbox imagery in JOSM.
  2. Add the 2010 Aerial Photography and make it the visible one.
  3. Zoom to a road intersection near the area you plan to work on.
  4. Download data in this extent.
  5. On the road intersection, perfectly align road centerlines.
  6. Now turn off the 2010 imagery and make Bing or Mapbox imagery the visible one.
  7. Right click on Bing or Mapbox and choose "New offset".
  8. Finally, you'll be prompt to align the imagery. You can just drag it by using the road intersection you just worked on as a reference. Then hit OK.