Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Technology

Google Crowd-Sources Maps 151

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i'm-adding-moats dept.
Wamoc writes "Google has invited 'citizen cartographers' to refine the US map for Google Maps and Google Earth. 'Today we're opening the map of the United States in Google Map Maker for you to add your expert local knowledge directly. You know your neighborhood or hometown best, and with Google Map Maker you can ensure the places you care about are richly represented on the map. For example, you can fix the name of your local pizza parlor, or add a description of your favorite book store.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Crowd-Sources Maps

Comments Filter:
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @11:46AM (#35869830)

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vossman77 (300689)

      Sounds like Google is starting to fear the progress made my open street maps... http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org]

      • Why is this marked flamebait ? It could be true, I've noticed a lot of the free or cheap iPhone apps use Openstreetmaps' maps. It creates a base of people that benefit from making the maps ever more accurate. That has got to scare Google: maps is one of the levers they use, along with gmail, to differentiate their mobile platform from other platforms (and unlicensed Android versions)

    • (apologies to Rush...)

      "Hey y'all, don't you wish you could be white washing this here picket fence? I gotta great job, betcha you wish you could be spending the afternoon white washing this here fence, you suckers..."

      Seriously, Sergei (and you, too, Arianna. Especially You!) people work for you, you pay them. This Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney "Hey, kids, let's put on a show in my grandma's barn, we can call it 'User Generated Content!'" shit has gone about as far as it can and should go.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543)
        Or maybe "Geez it would be nice to be able to spent 15 sec fixing that road segment that always results in google maps routing me around, which wastes 10 minutes of my day" Having worked with city and county mapping services there are a lot of little mistakes on maps that a simple tweak could easily fix. OTOH, if you don't want to, don't do it.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I can see this falling into the same trap as the Street View removal procedure - people can abuse it to harm their competitors.

          On Street View if you find a competitors shop, point the cursor at the flat above it or the car parked in front of it and claim that it is yours Google will remove it. No checking, they just take your word for it. Now if someone looks up their address and wants to see an image of the shop front they can't. Similarly you can now make subtle alterations to the maps that will result in

      • by Synon (847155)
        You're just upset because your parents never got you a sandbox when you were a kid, I understand. User generated content can and will go much much further. A simple project like "Accurately label every location of interest in the US" is a big much, even for google. And people benefit from such a map, so why wouldn't they spend a couple minutes to make a correction to their favorite businesses?
        • Or to their own business. Updating information around their location wouldn't be a bad idea for many store owners. Google Places is also very useful.
          • by 517714 (762276)
            Gaming of the system is the next logical step. One might be able to route people to one's neighborhood by submitting false one-way streets, road closures, altered speed limits, and traffic jam reports.
    • by awilden (110846) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:20PM (#35870496)

      OpenStreetMaps is a classic grass-roots effort. People have sweat blood making OSM work, proving the "business" model, working out the kinks, and donating immeasurable time towards making this a success. Now that somebody has done the dirty work to prove that this method of crowd-sourcing maps can work, Google trots out its sexy service that will grab the buzz, divert the resources, advertise interest away and steal the user cycles towards improving its own closed proprietary maps. Yes, that's correct, proprietary -- there's no guarantee that what you do will remain freely available.

      Has everyone forgotten the CDDB debacle? Quoting wiki [wikipedia.org]: "The original software behind CDDB was released under the GNU General Public License, and many people submitted CD information thinking the service would also remain free." Those of you who remember will recognize what an understatement that is. Needless to say, those users were wrong and one day they found that all their effort was suddenly swallowed up and they were being asked to pay for access to the data they submitted.

      I don't believe Google is evil and I don't work with OSM, but if Google is not evil it has to realize the negative impacts its actions can have on the kinds of grassroots open-source efforts it claims to support. Google is not stepping in to use its resources to do what the crowd cannot -- it will end up undercutting a project where the crowd was doing just fine on its own. And the ordinary Joes need to realize what is going on and channel their efforts to the project where they will own the product. OpenStreetMap.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Or the Huffingtong Post [iol.co.za]?

      • I don't believe Google is evil and I don't work with OSM, but if Google is not evil it has to realize the negative impacts its actions can have on the kinds of grassroots open-source efforts it claims to support.

        I once interviewed for a job at Google. Made it through 13 rounds. During interview #14, I was pontificating on the "don't be evil" mantra and suggested that, even without evil intent, the reverberating effects of radical changes in technology shouldn't be ignored. I said something along the lines that I'm sure that Google could come up with a way to offer absolutely free web hosting--no Geocities-esque banners or anything--and absolutely kill hundreds or thousands of small service vendors overnight.

        T

      • Now that somebody has done the dirty work to prove that this method of crowd-sourcing maps can work,

        Mapmaker has been available outside the US in countries with more limited map data for years now - I worked on mapping parts of semi-rural India. The tools on OSM are good, better than Google's in many ways, but Google Maps does have a certain weight of presence. If putting in a minor update here or there helps people who use Google Maps by default (e.g., Android Navigation users), what is wrong with that?

    • Is there anything preventing Google from using the OSM data itself in Google Maps? It used to be licensed CC-BY-SA, so it would be perfectly fine to embed it into Google Maps with correct attribution, in a similar fashion as the Wikipedia data. OSM is in a process of relicensing now, but I'd imagine the same would work with ODbL, too.

      The OSM data for my area is very detailed, including building outlines, landmarks, park benches, and dog poop dispensers (no kidding). Shame Google didn't opt for interoperabil

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Is there anything preventing Google from using the OSM data itself in Google Maps?

        The OSM data license is an open-source license that would require Google to reciprocate and allow its map data to be used by the OSM project.... something that Google most definitely doesn't want to have happen. This is something where they can't have their cake and eat it too. If they displayed the OSM data as a "separate view" being a "community contribution view" that could in turn be put into the OSM database, sure.... they could do that.

        The issue really is over how users can reuse the licensed data.

        • by richlv (778496)

          as for the "map maker", i guess the issue is that google would like to get the edits of their users and not give them to anybody else, including the contributors themselves ;)

          the deliberate errors in maps, commonly known as copyright easter eggs, is a somewhat interesting topic with some history as well : http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Copyright_Easter_Eggs [openstreetmap.org]

        • The OSM data license is an open-source license that would require Google to reciprocate and allow its map data to be used by the OSM project.... something that Google most definitely doesn't want to have happen.

          Actualy, as I understand it, Google buys a lot of their mapping info from, well, companies that specialize in mapping, as well as business info (for POI)... so it's probably not something they're even allowed to open source, in many cases...

        • So if Google uses the OSM data as an overlay in Google Maps, it has to release its own mapping data? It doesn't seem all that clear cut, to me. After all, they "mix in" Wikipedia articles, apparently without issues. And release what, exactly, the vector geodata? The sat imagery? The "yellow pages" stuff like company names and adresses, customer ratings? Seems like determining when something is a derived work and where the derived work starts and ends is even more difficult than with free software.

          I hope the

          • by Teancum (67324)

            As an overlay, I don't think that would be a problem. The issue is mixing in the mapping data and combining with non-open source mapping data and prohibiting derivative works from the end result. I don't see how Google could get that accomplished.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The data Google uses is licensed from mapping companies so they can't make it available for free in its native format, only present it as a rendered map or navigation instructions.

          I don't see how this is much different from YouTube or any other user-generated content site. You work for free producing valuable content, the site owner distributes it and makes money from advertising. Okay, here we have commercial data as a starting point, but the basic concept of getting people to do the hard work for free is

          • by Teancum (67324)

            The issue here is that there is a fairly substantial project that has been explicitly generating map data under an open-source license (until very recently, they have been using CC-by-SA). That differs substantially with YouTube and other commercial companies showing user generated content because you are and must be permitted to obtain the original source material and be able to remix, reuse, and re-edit the data.

            If you mix the data from the OSM project, all of the data must also be available for reuse, i

            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              I too would prefer it to be open. I am trying to develop technology for people to monitor traffic outside their homes and upload the data to a central database. We don't have very good traffic data in the UK. The technology is proving to be difficult though as it has to be both cheap and low power.

      • he OSM data for my area is very detailed, including building outlines, landmarks, park benches, and dog poop dispensers (no kidding).

        Ewwwwwww...

      • by swillden (191260)

        dog poop dispensers

        You mean dogs? OSM must achieve a very high update rate to track all of them.

        • Dammit! And with a "no kidding" no less. Well, I meant dog poop bag dispensers, if anybody was in doubt. Is there a shorter word for those?

      • ...and dog poop dispensers (no kidding)

        Forgive my ignorance, but isn't a dog-poop dispenser just a dog?

      • Nope. In fact, Bing Maps do use OSM. They also make their imaging data available for tracing by OSM [openstreetmap.org]. Microsoft playing nice with a community effort, Google trying to replace it with a proprietary one - how did we get here?
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        dog poop dispensers

        You really can get anything out of a vending machine these days...

    • by richlv (778496) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @01:21PM (#35871542)

      very. hopefully people will discover osm and "upgrade" from google - with osm, you can get entire dataset and do nearly anything with it.

      several other mapping companies are contributing to osm - http://open.mapquest.com/ [mapquest.com], even http://www.bing.com/community/site_blogs/b/maps/archive/2010/08/02/bing-maps-adds-open-street-maps-layer.aspx [bing.com] (although the link in the latter seems to be broken right now :) )

      you can find other interesting uses of osm data here : http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/List_of_OSM_based_Services [openstreetmap.org]

      of course, there's always the fact that "map maker" was available in multiple other countries before "opening" it for usa. which means others have had a chance to ask "why do this if there's osm" already ;) http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Kompa/diary/10047 [openstreetmap.org]

      so i would like to invite everybody to join http://osm.org/ [osm.org] :)

      • by adolf (21054)

        Ah, cool. Thanks for the links.

        I just noticed that http://open.mapquest.com/ [mapquest.com] includes some changes and deletions I made near my house a few months back. It is good to see that someone is actually trying to use the data I've provided, and seeing this encourages me to provide more updates to further make OSM match reality...while simultaneously discouraging me from playing with Google's new tools, which don't seem open at all.

        • by richlv (778496)

          changes usually appear on http://open.mapquest.com/ [mapquest.com] quite quickly, and that includes both rendering and searching. not too surprising, given that they employ some key osm project developers ;)

    • Actually it sounds more like they want advertising revenue from the book store and pizza parlour, even if those businesses didn't request advertising from google.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @11:47AM (#35869852)
    Address and ratings for all the girls that put out? Sure, there is no way this can be abused...
    • by bunratty (545641)
      I added loose women's houses, geohashing locations I visited, places where I've slept, the trees I admire most, and tons of sidewalk graffiti sites, but those damn dirty deletionists removed them all! How can it be useful if they remove such critical information?
    • Not to kill your great idea and all though. From the linked Google Blog:

      To confirm Map Maker user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed. After approval, the edits will appear in Google Maps...

      There's still OpenStreetMaps for to try that on...

    • "To confirm Map Maker user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed. After approval, the edits will appear in Google Maps within minutes..."

      From the Google Blog entry...

  • After submitting that they have my street name wrong and the next one over with it's label, and another one missing, years ago, I can just do it myself? This, this is just epic genius! I mean, that thought never went though my mind. Completely unobvious.

    • My street is one way, but Google Maps displays it one way in the wrong direction. I've submitted a report oh, about five years ago, and still no change. I'm looking forward to opening this up for Hungary as well, so I can make that goddamn change, since it breaks all routes planned by Maps.

    • by oakgrove (845019)

      After submitting that they have my street name wrong and the next one over with it's label, and another one missing, years ago,

      That's strange. I submitted a correction for two streets where I live that had the names mixed up and about a month later, they sent me an email thanking me and the switch was made. OSM had the same error (must have came from the Tiger data) and I just fixed it myself. Not sure why your change wasn't made to GM.

      • by Cwix (1671282)

        I emailed them with a pdf map of all the bike routes in my city, and they had the map updated a few months later with a nice email thanking me. Yea a few months isnt great turnaround but the fact that they have a much more complete map of the bike trails was a big plus to me.

    • I'm with you. This should have been done years ago. Sometimes I can't sleep at night, knowing that something or someone is wrong or incorrect on the Internet.
      • If you only knew how many people pulled onto the wrong street since it is hard to see form the road, you'd understand why I would at least like maps to be correct.

        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          Ob xkcd [xkcd.com]

        • by Americano (920576)

          Saving a handful of people the trouble of a u-turn or a three-point turn when they realize they made a wrong turn? This is truly god's work, friend.

          It's often overlooked in favor of high-profile "causes" like "feeding and clothing the poor" and "providing quality medical care to people who've never had it" and (it's okay to roll your eyes) "childhood education." But it's just as important - perhaps even MORE important, in fact!

          Did you know: In the last days of her life, Mother Teresa was overheard to rem

          • by gknoy (899301)

            Helping people avoid wrong turns reduces traffic on the streets that were incorrectly referred, which has potential to increase pedestrian safety (as there are less cars traveling). It saves drivers time and frustration. It seems like it's a universally good thing - why do you ridicule it? Do you also ridicule people that pick up litter, or volunteer as crossing guards?

            The guy isn't making a crusade of it, he just wants less people to (mistakenly) turn onto his street. Seems pretty understandable. As a driv

          • by gfreeman (456642)

            Why are you posting to /. instead of helping to feed and clothe the poor, or campaigning for better childhood education?

            • by Americano (920576)

              I suspect for the same reasons you're posting to /., instead of helping to feed and cloth the poor, or campaigning for better childhood education - humans tend to be shallow, self-absorbed narcissists, and often need a kick in the ass to jolt them out of their narrow frame of reference to gather some perspective. I make no claim that I'm immune to this tendency. I have several exes who would also gleefully tell you that I can be a prick, so if you absolutely must feel that you're not subject to the same f

              • Damnit, it's almost 6 in the morning and I can't sleep. I just knew some asshole was gonna keep me up tonight on /. because he was a douche and I had to correct him.

                It isn't about a 3 point turn, it's about it's hard to find the fucking road, even though it is right there, and people get confused. People have crossed over a ditch on foot several times to knock on my door, looking for the road that I live on.... I know you don't give a shit about people saving hassle knowing where they are going but those th

    • by cusco (717999)

      After submitting that they have my street name wrong and the next one over with it's label, and another one missing, years ago, I can just do it myself? This, this is just epic genius! I mean, that thought never went though my mind. Completely unobvious.

      I just wish that we could fix bad labels on Google Earth. I've sent a couple of emails telling them that they've misspelled Paruro, Peru, and that the locations of a couple of nearby villages are wrong, but neither is fixed yet.

  • All that talk about not being evil is all fine and dandy. But how come Android does not have a decent off line map application? They say Google maps works fine in iPad/iPhone. But in Android, if you don't have a data plan, it simply does not work [*]

    GPS is free. In fact first few phones with GPS were totally offline operations with the maps cached locally not forcing a data plan. But pretty quickly the carriers and hand set makers colluded to make it non workable and they all peddle dataplans at various l

    • All that talk about not being evil is all fine and dandy. But how come Android does not have a decent off line map application?

      http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Android has several, including osmand.

      As for your complaints about Google Maps not having an offline mode and whining about a cabal between Google and the carriers - on Android, it caches map data which is now vector-based, not prerendered tiles. They were waiting for device processors speeds and 3D abilities to become suitable. If you tra

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      In the linux world there is the interesting TangoGPS [tangogps.org] and it's fork FoxtrotGPS [foxtrotgps.org]

    • by Minwee (522556)

      But how come Android does not have a decent off line map application?

      Maybe you should have bought a Nokia instead. Their Ovi Maps application works entirely offline, can be updated through USB, and is free to boot.

      Pity the rest of their software sucks, but at least the maps are good.

      • Pity the rest of their software sucks, but at least the maps are good.

        You know, if you wanted that, there's these things on the market called "GPS Navigators"...

      • There are also some decent OSM apps. I have one on my ancient N80. It's a J2ME thing. You run a desktop Java app, select a rectangle on the map, and it generates a J2ME app embedding that data. It can also integrate with the GPS if your device has one or you have an external bluetooth one. If your device allows J2ME apps to use the filesystem (mine doesn't), then you can also just copy maps across to it separately, and it can grab them from the Internet itself if you have signal (generally, when I need
    • But how come Android does not have a decent off line map application?

      Because most Android-powered devices sold in the United States are mobile telephones, not PDA/PMP devices such as Archos 43. Devices without a cellular radio are more likely to not have a GPS receiver either. They're also likely to run AOSP Android, which doesn't come with Android Market, instead of OHA Android, which does. As for using a phone with only a voice plan and no data plan, only recently have those become available in the United States. The United States market is relevant because it is the home

  • There is both a good and a bad side to this. Ignoring the wikipedia type abuse that will occur it will probably be a net good, however say goodbye to favorite places that only locals or a few know about. Someone will put it on Google.

    Ever discover a good side road that works to get around traffic? A friend and I who carpooled found one. One day a radio station started a segment where people could call in with traffic tips. Someone glowing described this wonderful detour. The next day it was as stalled an
    • by vlm (69642)

      Ever discover a good side road that works to get around traffic? A friend and I who carpooled found one. One day a radio station started a segment where people could call in with traffic tips. Someone glowing described this wonderful detour. The next day it was as stalled and backed up as the highway. Years later I went that way again, still as screwed up. I suspect this sort of thing to happen with various other kind of favorite spots.

      Works both ways. There is a truly major interstate highway project in my area, biggest in a couple decades, maybe the biggest project since the interstate was built decades ago. The conventional wisdom is the interstate will therefore be a parking lot during rush hour, so take any possible non-interstate route home, avoid the interstate at all costs, its the inter-apocalypse, etc. The actual result is the interstate is a ghost town and I get home about 5 to 10 minutes earlier than normal now, even though

  • Google Maps has had a "report a problem" link for years.

    Not that it ever did a lick of good. But it was there.

    • by Kelbear (870538)

      I've used it 3 times and was contacted within 2 days (not automated, it was from a person). Correction made within 1-2 weeks.

      1) Misspelling of my street name in google maps resulted in it being impossible to search for
      2) Streetview pointing at a "highway" that was actually just forest (the exit was a few hundred feet back)
      3) Fixing street name at a new address.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:26PM (#35870592) Homepage

    Didn't Google have a thing about two years ago where people could photograph storefronts, send them in to Google, and get paid?

    They have a "submit your content" [google.com] thing now, but of course Google doesn't actually pay for the content.

  • The Holiday "station-store" at the Mall of America doesn't actually have gasoline, and I'm tired of it showing up when I'm searching for gas stations.

    Does this mean I can actually fix it with some faint hope that the fix will actually stay fixed?
  • My property should be about 20 times bigger than they show it.

    The changes here will be definitive, right?

  • A while back I added the hours for a business near where I live (their schedule is a little bit odd - they're only open Wednesday-Saturday). And you've always been able to report a problem with the map, as long as I can remember (although I don't think in some countries it allows that).

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:58PM (#35871172) Homepage Journal

    Sure, you don't get paid, but at least you get the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing someone else's stock price rise.

    Ok, so you won't be allowed to directly query the data yourself after you give it to them, but at least you'll know that it might come up on your page, along with their ads, if you embed their javascript.

  • We have 3 building on our HQ campus, I went in to outline each building and tag it with the appropriate address to make it easier for people to find the correct building when they visit the campus. There's no apparent way to do that as you have to specify a type of business when you select the drawing tool and none of the categories fit.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:01PM (#35872074) Journal

    Damn right I know my neighborhood better.

    Yes, google maps. I am certain that my ex girlfriend lives on Whore Avenue.

    And my boss does happen to live on Penis Street.

  • Exactly how is this different from Wikimapia (http://wikimapia.org)? That's a community-driven map-places-editing site that's been active for several years now...

  • Instead of linking to the Official Google Blog homepage, it would be better to link to the relevant blog post: Official Google Blog: Add your local knowledge to the map with Google Map Maker for the United States [blogspot.com]
  • There is still no designation for seasonal roads, and truck trails which Google maps and most GPS's send people down to get stuck in the winter and spring.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

Working...