Google Maps Rolls Out New Data for the US

Also asks users for help in updating local data where necessary

By Lucian Parfeni on October 8th, 2009 15:00 GMT
Google Maps is one of the company's most successful products and one of the earliest. But despite its popularity it's far from perfect and one area where it could improve is the basic map data which, even in places where there is plenty of information, like the US, it is still lacking in certain aspects. Google is working on improving this with the addition of a lot of new data from several official sources but also with a new tool that allows users to report any issues with the maps.

“Today you may notice that the United States looks a bit different in Google Maps - all of that new green park land was probably a giveaway. That's because we've worked directly with a wide range of authoritative information sources to create a new base map dataset,” Andrew Lookingbill, software engineer, wrote.

The new map data is live for the US and features information from several sources that have up to date data in their area of expertise. For example, Google worked with the USDA Forest Service's Forest Boundaries and the US Geological Survey's National Hydrography Dataset to provide more accurate data for areas like parks and water bodies. Google Maps now also features data from many university campuses and biking trails and more information is on its way.

“So where do you fit into this? Well, we've found our users are also remarkable data sources themselves, so we've added a new tool to Google Maps that lets you communicate directly with Google about any updates that you think need to be made to our maps,” Lookingbill added.

Now at the bottom right corner of the maps users can click the “Report a Problem” button, which they can use to contact Google about an issue they encountered. This tool isn't meant as a kind of bug feedback feature for Google Maps but to actually report problems with the data, like a road being closed or other local changes that may not have made their way into Maps yet. Google pledges to resolve any issue reported within a month by verifying it with other users or independent sources.


Google asks users for help in updating local data in Google Maps where necessary
   Google asks users for help in updating local data in Google Maps where necessary
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