Part 1: Create a Simple Image

Importing a Simple Image is ideal for checking the availability of images in your area, as well as for quick verification of your drawing. Sufficient for small areas as well.

What is a Simple Image?

Generally, the Map Providers divide the imagery at each Zoom Level (ie the altitude from which the Satellite or the Aerial image is taken) into a set of square tiles. When a request is made for a specific location and Zoom Level, the Map's API determines which tiles are needed.


From the above, it becomes evident that the clarity of the details of an image depends on the Zoom Level. The lower the altitude (i.e. the higher the zoom level) from where the image is taken, the more details will be able to see for in the area of interest.

As a result, the number of tiles needed for an area, is directly related to the Zoom Level, as also depicted in the following picture.

Picture Source: Bing Maps

A Simple Image in Plex-Earth, is an image consisting of only ONE TILE. This means that for a specific area, the software will search automatically for the highest Zoom Level that will cover the whole area with only one tile. 

This is of course a very quick method, as only one tile is imported. At the same time, for small areas, the Zoom Level can still be high, resulting in very good clarity.

For large areas though, the Zoom Level has to be from a high elevation, resulting in the quality to be quite low. In these cases, where details are important for our desing, we can use the "Import Mosaic" command. A mosaic consists of a grid of tiles from high Zoom Level images.

This tutorial walks the user through all the necessary steps, in order to import a Simple Image into AutoCAD drawings.

Import a Simple Image

Consider the following road design and suppose that we want to quickly compare our drawing with the existing site situation.

At the same time, we want to find the most suitable dataset from our providers, in order to see which imagery, from the available ones, is more appropriate for us.


The import of a Simple image (1 tile) seems a very convenient and fast method, for our small area project.

Note: Before using any "Imagery" feature, the Georeference of the drawing must have been
defined. Otherwise, the software will not know where to place the imported images.

Step 1: The "Create Simple Image" Button

We click on the "Create Simple Image" command from the Imagery panel.


Step 2: Specify your Project's Area.

When prompted, we specify the area into AutoCAD that we want to cover with imagery.


Step 3: A Simple Image into AutoCAD.

Unless defined otherwise from the Sources option, Plex-Earth will import a Simple Imagery from Google Maps.

In our example, this is the tile that covers our defined area with the smallest Zoom Level.


From the moment an image is downloaded, the Imagery Manager window pops up. This feature allows the management of all the imported images (Simple or Mosaics) and provides valuable information as well.

For example, here, we can see that this is a satellite imagery and the Zoom Level is 16.

Of course, if he had chosen a smaller area, the Zoom level could have been higher and the quality better and vice versa.

Step 4: Add alternative views


In our Imagery Manager, Plex-Earth will automatically provide alternative imagery suggestions, which may better satisfy our needs.

Best Resolution: This tag indicates the provider that offers the best resolution for this specific area. This is a very important information, if we need high-quality imagery for our design, as it will indicate which provider we can use for our mosaic. The quality difference will not be apparent between Simple Images.

More Recent: This tag indicates which provider offers the most recent imagery dataset. 

In order to add alternative imagery from these providers, we can click on the "Add View" button at the bottom. If we want to add imagery from any other available provider, apart from the suggested ones, we just click on the "Add View" option at the top.

Further, It can be noticed that these providers, also, offer various datasets for historical imagery.

tip_icon_small.png More about what features (datasets, zoom levels, cover area etc) each provider offers, can be found here.

If we click on the "Add view" option, a window with the available datasets will pop-up.


Note: In each dataset, there might be various information, like the amount of cloud
that covers our image. This will help the user to choose the better dataset for his

All we have to do is to choose our dataset and click "OK". Then, our new imagery will appear in the Imagery Manager.

If we want to import more alternative images, we can click "Edit" in our first image and repeat the above process.


Finally, we can click on each image in the Imagery Manager, in order to switch between the respective images in our drawing. 

For avoiding any confusion, only two Simple Images can be seen at the same time in AutoCAD. In order to see two images at the same time, one must be left in the editing mode.


Of course, if many images are needed at the same time in a drawing, the concept of mosaic takes place.


Simple Imagery is ideal for a quick search of what is available in our project's area. This way, with only a few mouse clicks, the user is able to choose which imagery is more satisfactory to his need, by selecting between the best aerial and satellite providers of the field. At the same time, for relatively small areas, this method is enough for aiding the design process as well.

For more demanding projects, where high-quality imagery is needed and the clarity level must be high, the user can proceed with the import of a mosaic, as described in our next chapter.


Feel free to contact us at for any questions you might have and don’t forget to start your free trial today.

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