Saturday, November 20, 2010

Get flag images from Wikipedia

I needed a large number of national flag images at a certain resolution for a project my Web Development course was working on. By examining some flag images I saw on Wikipedia, I noticed that they were creating flag images on the fly.

For example, to create the United Kingdom's flag that is 100 pixels wide, you can access this URL:

which produces this flag:

So I developed a Perl script that would automate this process for me. I've included it below for anyone else who might need flag images. Note that I had to set the user agent string, or Wikipedia would not respond properly to the http request. If you use this script to download a lot of images, please be nice throttle your requests with the sleep() command.


# This script will attempt to download the national flag
# produced by Wikipedia using the $flag country name and
# $image_size as the image width. By Frank McCown.

use LWP::Simple;
use HTTP::Response;
use strict;

# Width of the image
my $image_size = 100;

# Country's name
my $flag = 'the United Kingdom';

my $filename = lc $flag;
$filename =~ s/\s/_/g;
$filename = $filename . "_" . $image_size . ".png";

my $url_filename = $flag;
$url_filename =~ s/\s/_/g;

my $img_url = "" .
$url_filename . ".svg/" . $image_size . "px-" . $url_filename . ".png";

print "Getting $img_url\n";

my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new;
$ua->agent('Mozilla/5.0 Firefox 5.6');

my $response = $ua->get($img_url);

if ($response->is_success) {
print "Writing to $filename\n";

open(IMG, ">$filename");
print IMG $response->content;
close IMG;
else {
print "ERROR: Could not download.\n";