Google Maps Makes Use Of Crowdsourcing

    August 3, 2007

Who knows your town better: you or Google?  Unless you live in Mountain View, California, I’m betting it’s not Google.  So the search giant is experimenting with crowdsourcing as a way of making its maps more detailed.

Google Maps Makes Use Of Crowdsourcing
Google Maps Makes Use Of Crowdsourcing

“They piloted a process in India where people would mark locations with a GPS and input other data such as directions, locations of shopping centers, parks, gas stations, restaurants etc.,” reports Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog.  “Google used input from many different people and correlated conflicts to try and arrive at the best data.”

Note Taylor’s use of the term “piloted,” which implies that this’ll show up in many more parts of the world.  That could be good – “Gerardo” of GeoDataMaps seems to like Google’s gear (and the process as a whole), and writes, “This ‘care package’ is a very interesting thing for Latin America people.  Please, Google people, make some more ‘noise’ about this.  There are many people in our countries waiting to do some local mapping . . .”

On the other hand – and admittedly, this is still a ways off – O’Reilly Radar’s Brady Forrest asks, “How long till we are all contributing to some mapping database every time we go for coffee?”  There’s less than a direct line between the two, but some folks are already disturbed by the small chance that Google Street View will record an instant of their day.

For the time being, however, this type of crowdsourcing is just a neat way of improving Google Maps.  Keep an eye out for its expansion, and don’t fret – Google’s only asking for volunteers.