Friday, 10 February 2012

Live World Map on Desktop - Windows 7 Solution

Hello Friends,

This is my first post and hope you would like it.

Couple of days back I was goggling for Live World Map as a desktop wallpaper on my Windows 7 machine. Not to my surprise there were so many I could find but the only one I liked was this - Click here 

Unfortunate enough this was for Windows XP. Due to this very reason I got inspired and thought why don't we have something similar and simple for Windows 7 as well.

Well, not to be disappointed any more, here it is my (Simple) solution.

I have created a small java based program packaged into an executable jar which does the same thing and also doesn't impact your PC performance.

It has the following components:

  1. Executable Jar File and
  2. Properties file

Executable jar file will run in background and keep fetching the live image from (however configurable but not recommended) at regular interval (can be set manually).

Properties file help you manage various properties of the application right from location, file names, refresh intervals to format and many more.

Now comes the most important questions

  • JRE (5 and above)
  • Windows 7

How to use it:

  • Download the zip file (containing the executable jar and properties file) here (File Size - 6KB only)
  • Create a folder in your desired location and extract the content.
  • Go to Resources folder and open the file and edit it with desired values. Description of all the properties are well documented inside it. Please follow the guidelines.
  • Once done just double click the jar file and you would soon notice 2 images (at the location you mentioned in properties file with the names you have provided).
  • You can verify the images by opening them in any picture viewer or editor of your choice.
  • Right click on your Windows 7 Desktop and click on Personalize.
  • Click on Desktop Background at the very bottom
  • Click the browse button next to Picture Location and browse it to where you have those 2 world map image files.
  • Ensure you click Select All.
  •  Adjust the Picture Position based on your screen size (Fill can work in almost all cases)
  • Adjust the time in "Change Picture every:" based on your preference or approximately to the value you have mentioned in properties file.
  • Click on Save Changes and you are done.

Now the live image will be fetched by the background java process and windows 7 will keep refreshing the desktop background at set interval to reflect the updated image.

As this is a background process and starts working only when you double click it there are 2 things you would want to do

  • At every start up (after shutdown) either double click the jar again or put it in your start up folder to ensure that this gets started every time you boot the machine.
  • At some point in time you may want to kill the program then you would have to use Task Manager and search for java process (the java process name would be your jvm process name - javaw32 or something like this) and Click on End Process

As with any other application, this too has few areas of improvements some are listed below

  1. Updates in properties require restart of your application
  2. In case you are sitting behind a proxy, there might be a proxy caching issue
  3. You can tell me...just post your thoughts, feedback and comments.

Also do let me know if you want to some other utilities.

Enjoy and Warm Regards,


  1. Win7 doesn't know what program to use to open filetype ".properties". If I use WordPad, won't it be saved at a .txt file afterwards? How do I revert the filetype?

  2. I changed the comfig file to download the pictures to c:\ rather than the d:/ that was in it. The program loads the two pictures to the folder containing itself (ie a folder on my desktop and not the top of the C: drive). There are 3,600,000 milliseconds in 60 minutes, not 10,000. Then I renamed the file simply by highlighting after the "...erties" and pressing the delete button to erase any hidden filetype (might be a red herring, I don't know) so I didn't have a .doc file. Then I clicked on the program and it works!!

  3. Where is the start up folder in Win7?

  4. naughty, naughty,
    i liked dthe idea of something simple but I got Incredi and other stupid stuff I can' get rid of.
    thank you very much indeed

  5. The zip file is no longer available. Thanks.