Part of Google's objective to make the perfect map of the Earth relies on the community of amateur map-makers around the world who are willing to take the time to create maps of their neck of the woods. As expansive as Google is, even it must welcome the contributions from these auxiliary cartographers and, really, having maps made from people who live in these previously-unmapped regions adds a level of local familiarity and intimacy likely not attainable from cars, satellites, or planes.
It is for this reason that Google makes available its Google Map Maker for people throughout the world and today it announced that Map Maker is now available in eight European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.
The addition of these countries pushes the availability of Google Map Maker to well over 190 countries and territories. Depending on what source you rely on, that's nearly every country in the world (hold on a little bit longer, Andorra, Chile, Russia, et al. - you'll probably be added before too long - well, maybe).
Interested parties can link up with collaborators in the Map Your World Communitymaps to tackle those big ranges of land or, if you're a lone cartographer type, you can simply head over there and get some feedback from your fellow users of Map Maker.
Google's been under some pressure lately to keep developer interest in its mapping service. Apple recently pink-slipped Google Maps for its own native geo service while OpenStreetMap has continued to attract developers with its open source platform, creating some surging challenges to Google's place atop of the search mountain.[Via Lat Long Blog.]