Google has announced a new feature of Google Maps called MapMaker, which allows anyone with a Google account (therefore, everyone) to edit Google Maps Google Maps . We’re not talking editing your or your friends’ version; we’re talking about the real thing. You can now edit and moderate roads, lakes, parks, POIs, cities and other local features as you please.
For now the feature, called MapMaker, is limited to some pretty odd choices: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago. Why? According to Google: “The existing mapping data for these countries could benefit tremendously from local knowledge and expertise that you and other map makers posses, and we’re excited to see how you put that to use.” Google’s primary example: Mapping Myanmar for relief efforts, an application that Google already executed.
That’s very, very cool, of course, but if you think Google is doing this entirely out of the goodness of its heart, then you must also think Google AdWords is a philanthropy effort. As with nearly everything Google does, there’s always a reason that sounds like a gift to the world, and a reason it makes sense that’s a gift to Google. Allow me to bold the word in the Google announcement that might be the latter:
Map Maker allows you and your peers to add, edit and moderate most features you see on maps including roads, lakes, parks, points of interest, businesses, cities and localities. You will be able to trace many of these features using satellite images; as you trace, maps are immediately updated.
Anywho. I think this is a great new feature, and if it eventually allows for crowdsourced local AdWords, so much the better!