Google’s Map Maker has been available since 2008 and is now in more than 180 countries and regions all around the world. For the first time, that list includes the U.S.
Google has just announced that Map Maker is (finally) open in the U.S.
It’s a tool that lets citizen cartographers update or correct Google Maps via a browser interface. As the image above shows, you can add points on the map, or draw lines and/or shapes. It’s a collaborative tool: You can also review other people’s edits and, if you do, your own edits will get reviewed more quickly. (A Google account is required to use Map Maker.)
When it first launched in June 2008, Google touted Map Maker as a tool that could help map uncharted/unmapped areas, and today’s announcement boasts that “users have mapped entire cities, road networks and universities that were never previously recorded online.”
But — and this is a key point — not all user edits will show up on Google Maps. Many of the edits will only be visible inside the Map Maker product, as Google explains in its help files:
How long does it take for changes to appear? Will my changes appear on other Google products? The changes can be seen on Google Map Maker in real time. Not all user contributions will appear on maps.google.com or other Google products. The contributions that do appear on other Google products may take a some time to show up. Google Map Maker is a repository for user submitted information. Google may choose to accept some of that data for display on other websites and products.
All of which is to say that, if you were thinking that this might be a good way to spam your location/business into Google Maps, you might want to think again. It’s probably not gonna work.
If you’re not familiar with Map Maker, here’s a short Google video that explains it.