At some point during the course of the past couple of years, perhaps catalyzed by the shock of Nokia’s roughly $8 billion acquisition of Navteq, Google decided it needed to “own” maps top to bottom. Since that time the company has been making a systematic effort to collect and improve the base data for this highly strategic product. That’s partly what Street View driving is about: getting roads and other data for Maps (and now Navigation) in addition to imagery and WiFi hotspot locations.
According to the Google LatLong blog the base maps data has been updated for 10 countries:
Today, we are excited to let you know that we have updated the base map data in all Google Maps products and services for ten countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland. This follows earlier improvements to our maps in the US and Canada, and will be rolling out over the course of the next day.
Google is also soliciting (and has been for some time) user input to improve the accuracy of the data, OpenStreetMap style.
After Nokia’s acquisition of Navteq Google stopped working with the company and began working with its rival TeleAtlas. However Google stopped working with TeleAtlas in the US in favor of its own data about a year ago. It continued working with the data provider outside the US. At the time the change happened it appeared that TeleAtlas would probably be replaced by Google’s own data, globally, at some point in the future. (Google works with a variety of data providers outside the US.)
It now appears that TeleAtlas is either gone or on the way out in Europe too. The TeleAtlas copyright line is playing peek-a-boo this morning. I’m seeing it on some maps and not others in Europe. For example it’s there in Denmark but not in The Netherlands:
We’ll ask Google to comment and update this post with any information we receive.
Update: A Google spokesperson said the following to me in email when I asked about the status of the company’s relationship with TeleAtlas in Europe:
Tele Atlas continues to provide us with map data for many countries in Europe.