(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Timothy Lee

Filed Under:
local information, maps, wikis


Google Maps Becoming Even More Like A Wiki

from the User-Generated-Geography dept

A few months ago, we noted that Google had taken some tentative steps to make Google Maps more wiki-like, and we encouraged them to take further steps in that direction. Now Techcrunch reports that they're doing just that, giving users more ability to edit the data on Google Maps. Now, not only can you move the pin showing the location of a particular address, but you can edit the information associated with that address. Best of all, Google allows you to delete markers that are inaccurate or inappropriate, and even to add new ones. This is going to make Google Maps even more valuable. The next challenge Google is likely to have is dealing with vandalism. They've got some tools to deal with that already, but I think they could improve things even more by making the editing process more transparent. For example, as far as I can tell, there's no way to see all of the markers in a particular small section of the map (say the block where I live). There also doesn't appear to be any easy way to automatically monitor changes within a certain radius of a particular location. These features (analogous to Wikipedia's watchlist feature) would make it a lot easier for public-spirited Google Maps users to keep tabs on map changes and quickly revert vandalism. I'd personally be happy to help police edits in the area around my apartment, but there's currently no easy way for me to do that.

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