Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Google Map Maker review

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been trying to use the new google map maker feature which allows everyone to edit what you see in google maps. You can add/remove retail listings, streets, bike lanes etc.

Previously, you would right click the map, select "report a problem" and then explain what was wrong or missing. Now you get the "fun" of doing it yourself.

When it comes to something like a change in roads, doing it yourself makes sense. Previously, you'd have to explain exactly what was wrong, and hope the person at google got it. Now, you make all the changes, and submit it for review.

My one major concern is the review system. Basically, the google people rely on their imagery to decide if what you did makes sense or not. The problem with that is that the imagery is never up to date. Streetview and satellite are two years old in Fresno, and the aerial imagery is a bit over a year old. Problem is, stuff changes.

So when I say "there's a bike lane between M and O" they say "no there's not".

It's frustrating because the whole point of making this tool available is for locals to make changes they know about, but google doesn't.

The one upside is that the old system was very anonymous, but this one provides more interaction. You're contacted by a google person and told "this was rejected because the aerial imagery shows no bike lanes". At least now you get the chance to reply and explain the situation.

Or at least that's the theory. Hopefully within the next few days all my edits are approved and the Fresno bike map is brought to what it actually looks like. So far, they've accepted 3 lanes and a bike path.

2 comments:

  1. I've received emails from them if they don't agree with my edit, maybe you can go out and take a picture of the new bike lane and then attach it to a reply. Otherwise, just keep changing it and bug the crap out of them until the acknowledge you. Then, once you build up a stack of changes, they'll take you at your word.

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  2. Yeah, I've had a bit of a back and forth with them, and now most of my edits have been approved. Two are in limbo though, so I might just try and resubmit them. I'll be posting some screen-caps in a few days showing what I changed.

    I find it interesting that it appears that the reviewers are in Asia. I say this because the approvals come in batches at around 1-2am PST, which of course is working time for them.

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