There’s no question that Google Maps is one of the most widely used map sites for business and personal use. Not only is it useful for finding directions to a specific place, but over the years more information has been added such as more business information, hours of operation, website addresses, and much more.
As you can imagine, updating that information and keeping it current can be a daunting task, and that’s where the Google Map Maker program came into play. For those not familiar with it, Google Map Maker is the site used by thousands of volunteer mappers to continually update not only business information, but also roads, parks, and most all the other information available on Google Maps. It hasn’t been without its controversy, and for awhile editing was shut down due to an editing prank while editing checks and balances were reviewed before finally re-opening the Map Maker service again.
With the re-opening of the Map Maker service came the Regional Lead program — mappers who had high trust in the old system were invited to apply, and many were accepted, to the Regional Lead program. Regional Leads assist Google in approving or denying pending edits that come through Map Maker, some of which come from Google Maps as well given recent updates.
Google is now looking to expand the types of edits users can make directly on Google Maps and have announced that the Map Maker service will be retired in March 2017, and certain features will “graduate” into Google Maps.
Today, we want to let you know that Google Map Maker features will officially graduate and be integrated directly into Google Maps in March 2017 when we’ll retire the standalone Map Maker product.
This update will enable us to focus on providing the best editing and moderation experience within Google Maps on both desktop and on mobile. We’ll continue to roll out new features to make sure you’re able to do most of the things you’ve grown accustomed to doing in Map Maker – like edit roads – leading up to March 2017 and after.
Starting today, edits made on Google Maps will no longer be available for moderation on Map Maker. This will allow us to streamline our efforts, speeding up the time for an edit to get published.
I’m a Regional Lead, and have been editing and have been helping to approve and deny edits on Map Maker for over five years. Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed a lot more incomplete and spam type edits coming from Google Maps, some even being auto-published. These edits are most likely a result of Google opening up Google Maps and adding more ways for users to update places, and even vote on pending edits within the Google Maps app’s Contribute tab. According to a post response from a Google moderator, the RL program will run until March as well, and then cease to exist.
As of now, nothing changes for the Regional Leads.
The program will continue to exist until March 2017 but after that we invite all RLs to join Local Guides to continue sharing their knowledge with the Mapping community.
Without these Google Maps edits coming through Map Maker starting today, I am a bit concerned about some of the edits being made in Google Maps as instead of reviewing and approving or denying pending edits, most of my Map Maker time has been spent undoing or fixing bad edits that have auto-published. It will be interesting to see how Google handles the transition, and hopefully the quality of edits, and as a result trust the average person has in Google Maps, doesn’t fall by the wayside.
Do you use Google Map Maker to make edits to Google Maps? What do you think about Google’s decision to roll the two services into one? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.