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Google Map Maker relaunches in U.S. complete with anti-prank safeguards

Google Map Maker
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
The image of a giant Android robot peeing on the Apple logo made international headlines when it was spotted on Google Maps earlier this year. The prank made it onto the service via Map Maker, Google’s crowdsourced tool that lets users make edits and updates to help improve, in most cases anyway, its mapping data.

While the sight of the droid relieving itself on Apple’s logo may have put a smile on the faces of those who rather dislike the iPhone maker, Google decided it’d had enough of such stunts and in May suspended use of the editing tool till it could come up with a better way of implementing it.

Earlier this month it came back online in six countries, though the U.S. wasn’t one of them. This week, however, the Web giant has relaunched Map Maker in not only the U.S., but 44 other countries, too.

Android Pee Apple Logo

On its opening page, Google encourages editors to “make your world look beautiful on Google Maps,” which can also be read as, “Leave out the lewd stuff this time, if you don’t mind.”

While mapping enthusiasts can once again contribute additions and corrections for things like roads, railways, rivers, beaches and business listings, a few changes have been introduced to make the service more efficient and hopefully root out jokers.

For example, before Map Maker was taken offline, suggested edits were reviewed via an automated process before being published as part of Maps, whereas now, to better manage the large amount of crowdsourced information coming in, community moderators called “regional leads” will review edits for their particular location.

Want to become a regional lead for your country? You’ll be selected by Google based on the history and quality of your contributions to Google Maps and the Map Maker community. You can apply here.

Perhaps wisely, Google’s also done away with its shape editing tool that allowed you to add geographic polygons, a feature that led to one person with an imaginative mind to create the peeing Android.

So there you have it, map makers. You can once again get stuck in to helping improve Google Maps, though those with mischievous minds may have to go elsewhere for their kicks.

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