Last week, Google announced that people can now add and edit the entire map of the United States with Google Map Maker. Users can add their favorite local coffee shops, the academic buildings on their college campus or new bicycle lanes in their hometown. Additionally, users can edit outdated information like restaurants that have closed but are still showing up on the map.
The process of becoming a Map Maker is simple and user-friendly. After setting up and signing into a Google account, the user chooses an area on the map he or she wishes to edit. If a local community group built a new park, a member from that group can add the park's location to Google Maps. Once the location of the park is added and saved to the map, it is passed along for approval.
To prevent bogus additions to the map, Google has set up an approval system that reviews each submission. All edits are reviewed by a moderator before posted live to Google Maps. The team of moderators includes an in-house Google team and a group of Map Makers not affiliated with Google. The Map Makers are users who have been selected because of their active involvement with Google Maps.
While more than 180 countries already have access to Map Maker, Google delayed opening up the tool to the United States. The main reason for the delay is to make sure the editing process could handle the influx of people. After all, the US version of Google Maps receives millions of visitors per day.