Google stepped into the community geography ring by announcing Google Map Maker, a new tool from Google that allows users to contribute and edit geographic data used by the popular Google Maps and Earth applications. This is a step beyond the My Maps tools (that allowed users to create and share geographic data) in that the data will be used to help build Google’s extensive basemap collection. Users can help create and edit “roads, lakes, parks, points of interest, businesses, cities and localities.” It will be interesting to see how Google’s team will moderate the edits being done by users. Currently, Map Maker is restricted to a handful of countries:
As of today, you can build maps in the countries of Cyprus, Iceland, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Caribbean nations of: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago. The existing mapping data for these countries could benefit tremendously from local knowledge and expertise that you and other map makers posses, and we’re excited to see how you put that to use.