There’s an interesting analogy to the 15th and 16th Centuries when European explorers (or colonialists) were out sailing and mapping the globe. The world was not entirely known and mapped at that time. So it is today on the Internet. While many areas are highly developed and well documented in online mapping, there are others that offer little information. Google has been trying to address that by opening up Earth and Maps to users through My Maps and collaborative map editing. Now comes Map Maker, which takes this to the next level.
Map Maker allows people to edit or add:
–Borders and regions (states/provinces, districts/administrative regions, cities, neighborhoods, etc.) –Road networks –Places of interest –Local businesses –Railways, waterways, events and reviews
Currently users can do this in only selected regions where Google doesn’t have great data. I would imagine that if it goes well Google will expand the regions where this capability is offered.
One can see this as a way to leverage local knowledge on a global scale to improve Maps, but it’s also a clever way to develop a system independent of any of the mapping data providers to obtain this information.