Google has sounded the death knell for its crowdsourced map correction system, Google Map Maker, ending its long-term use at the end of March. Never fear, though, many of those features will make a comeback as part of the overall Google Maps service.
Map Maker was initially launched in 2008 and since then has given the Google Map community a chance to edit and tweak existing maps, to make them better, more accurate, and clearer for all users around the world. In total, millions of alterations have been made and Google expects many millions more to happen in the future, but not through Map Maker.
The idea behind the change, we’re told, is to make it easier for all Google Maps users to contribute to the quality of the mapping service. Instead of forcing people to go down a different route, they’ll soon be able to make all the same sorts of Map Maker changes, but within Google Maps.
Confirmed editing features that Google already has available in Google maps include adding new places, editing place information, sharing details about specific places, moderating edits, viewing edit status, and editing road segments.
That’s what Google has translated over to Maps so far, but this is just a start. We’re told that Google will continue to add new editing features to Google Maps on an ongoing basis.
As part of this announcement, Google also hopes to bring more people on board with its Local Guides program, which lets Map editors earn points and unlock rewards for helping to make its tools some of the most accurate in the world. It also gives early access to certain Google Map features.
However, this could also be Google’s attempt to segregate the availability of certain features. As Ars points out, limiting certain editing functions to the most dedicated members could help avoid the vandalism problems which have plagued Maps in the past.
The end of Map Maker is just one of the many changes Google has brought to its Maps service lately. In March, it introduced a new location feature, which makes it easier than ever to show friends and loved ones where you are.