Digital Mappers Go To Parts Unknown

from the how-they-do-that dept

Ever wonder just how those maps you see on every online mapping service and GPS device get created? Me neither. However, the Washington Post has the story of how the various companies that make map databases have large forces of employees who simply drive around the country, mapping it as they go. They go in pairs, with a GPS device attached to the car. They note different facts (house numbers, which houses are on the corner, street names, etc.) and mark them all down on a digital pad. Right now, they’re mostly tracking roads that have changed (rebuilt highway on-ramps, for example) or new developments. However, as in-car GPS systems are growing in popularity, they’re looking to add additional information that could be very useful – such as where there are carpool lanes, tollbooths, or other landmarks. How long until these folks team up with the real “can you hear me now” guys?

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