Google Updates Maps with New Dataset

Calls Upon Organizations and Users for Help

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Google announced the launch of a new dataset for Google Maps, which opens up a lot more scenery. Now Google is able to provide better imagery and maps for things like parks, college campuses, and hiking trails.

Google has been working with a number of "authoritative information sources" to create the new dataset. The company says that such organizations that create the data do the best job of keeping it accurate and up-to-date. Google software engineer Andrew Lookingbill explains on the Google Lat Long Blog:

For example, in the US there are a number of publicly accessible geospatial datasets created by the government for the Census, land surveying, and transportation. These datasets provide information on everything from road networks and water bodies to toll roads and bridges. By integrating this information, and working with specialized data sources like the USDA Forest Service‘s Forest Boundaries and the US Geological Survey‘s National Hydrography Dataset, we’ve been able to expand and improve features in our maps like parks and water bodies. Satellite, aerial, and Street View imagery also helped. With overhead imagery, we could zoom in on roadway details to figure out details like the size of the road. Our Street View imagery, which you know as a tool to help you explore new places, turns out to be very helpful to understand road restrictions and confirm street data by reading street signs.

The best part about this new dataset is that we’ve been able to add a lot of new, detailed information to Google Maps – information that helps people better explore and get around the real world. For example, college students will be pleased to see maps of many campuses; and cyclists will now find many more trails and paths to explore. Soon we even plan on providing you with biking directions to take advantage of this new data. Of course, in the true Google spirit of "launch and iterate," we plan to work with more data sources to add new features in the map.

Google has also added a new tool to let users report problems with maps. There is a "report a problem" link on the bottom right of Google Maps. You can also find it by right-clicking on the map itself. Problems reported will be confirmed with other users, data sources, and imagery, and will be edited within a month if confirmed, according to Google. You can also submit your email address, and Google will inform you when the changes are made.

According to Google, 15,000 miles of roadway are built in the US every year. That is just one example of how Maps can continue to change. This represents the importance of keeping datasets up-to-date. It’s got to be a colossal task, but in the interest of accuracy, it’s a good thing Google has the cooperation of organizations and users.

Google Updates Maps with New Dataset
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