Google updates Maps for 10 European countries as part of Ground Truth project

Google says it’s well on its way to “building a better map of Europe” with the rollout of new map data for 10 countries and regions in Europe, including Andorra, Bulgaria, Estonia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

The move extends the reach of the web giant’s Ground Truth initiative to more than 40 countries.

Ground Truth started in 2008 and is designed to add even greater detail to Google’s online maps. “Through this initiative, we acquire high-quality map data from around the world and then apply a mix of advanced algorithms, supplemental data (including satellite, aerial and Street View imagery), and human input to create a map that corresponds as closely as possible to the real-world facts that you’d find if you were to visit that location,” Google’s Brian McClendon explained in a blog post.

Take the new 43-mile section of Bulgaria’s Trakiya highway (pictured), for example. Look on many maps, Google says, and you’ll find no trace of this new stretch of road. Wednesday’s update, however, has added it to Maps.

But Ground Truth doesn’t only concentrate on roads and highways. It also works to integrate information such as “walking paths, ferry lines, building outlines, park boundaries, university campuses and more — providing a richer, more comprehensive and more realistic experience for locals, visitors and armchair travelers alike.”

To further improve its already impressive online maps, the company encourages users to report a problem if they stumble across an error or find something missing from a location. “We’ll make the appropriate changes to the map — often within just a few minutes or hours of reviewing and verifying your feedback,” McClendon promises.

In other Maps-related news this week, Google revealed it had recently launched indoor maps for locations in Germany. The service was introduced in the US just over a year ago, and in the UK in July, and includes detailed floor plans of locations such as shopping malls, museums and transportation hubs.

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