Google Map Maker heads to the US

Google is turning to the citizens of the United States to help it further map the country, by launching a US version of Google Map Maker.

Google Map Maker, which has already been available in a number of other countries, will now let Americans draw and add to Google Maps. This should enhance the service and allow the search engine giant to get a better understanding of local towns and college campuses without having to work out how to get its Street View car in through the door.

Updates to the map that are deemed useful, be it placing the whereabouts of a car park or “soccer” field, will be accepted for all to see, and the originator will be rewarded with the fact that they fixed that error on the page.

To confirm Map Maker user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed and, after approval, the edits will appear in Google Maps within minutes rather than days. Google will even let you watch changes being made to the mapping data in real time.

TomTom has run a similar, and successful, variation of the scheme on it’s navigation GPS software for some time, allowing users to alert it to permanently closed roads or errors with the mapping data.

While many will see it as a way of Google getting the populous to do its work for it, others will welcome the inside knowledge a local will add.

Google is hoping the latter will be the case more often than not.

In addition to opening Map Maker for the United States, the company has added some features for global users. You can now get a street-level perspective on places with Street View imagery directly in Map Maker, see and edit all points of interest, and find exactly what you’re looking for with advanced search options, such as displaying all railroad tracks.