Google Maps is not only a strong product, it’s a strong platform. With its Map Maker tool, people from around the world can participate in making Google’s maps more detailed, accurate and up-to-date. This is exactly what happened for North Korea’s maps, Google announced today.
Google’s Senior Product Manager of Map Maker, Jayanth Mysore, discussed what went into these new detailed views:
To build this map, a community of citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker to make their contributions such as adding road names and points of interest. This effort has been active in Map Maker for a few years and today the new map of North Korea is ready and now available on Google Maps. As a result, the world can access maps of North Korea that offer much more information and detail than before.
We know this map is not perfect — one of the exciting things about maps is that the world is a constantly changing place. We encourage people from around the world to continue helping us improve the quality of these maps for everyone with Google Map Maker. From this point forward, any further approved updates to the North Korean maps in Google Map Maker will also appear on Google Maps.
Here’s a before and after look at North Korea, with more details popping up thanks to the Map Maker community:
We recently reported exactly how Google is managing its Map Maker community, giving them badges for accomplishments and adding more detail to make Google Maps better. While this community isn’t fully relied upon for Google Maps, it is definitely an important part of the entire system.
With everything that goes into making Google Maps the most powerful service of its kind, companies like Apple who are trying to do the work on their own definitely have some catching up to do. Right now, Google allows people from 200 different regions to participate in the editing of the Maps product.
Without sounding like a huge downer, this is also probably way safer than a Google Street View truck driving around in North Korea at this point.