Google MapMaker: What now?

Posted by Dion Dock on 4 November 2009 in English (English)

There has been some buzz about Google now supplying their own data for Google Maps. Maybe now we see why they were doing all of the "Street View" stuff.

Anyway, this brings a big opportunity for OSM. New neighborhoods (that I am familiar with) seem to have a ton of mistakes: alleys are streets, names are wrong, etc. It sounds like Google is more responsive about getting these things fixed. Maybe if I'd started mapping about now, I'd have been content letting them know about their mistakes. But the opportunity is to get people making the changes to OSM instead of the GOOG. Why get their approval when you know you're correct? And who benefits anyway?

Ditto with their Map Maker tool (which doesn't work in the USA). Why are people spending time creating data where they relinquish the rights? Maybe Google Maps is the big thing, but what else is gained other than advertising all over your map? I mean, if there is no data in, say, Mozambique (and I have no idea whether there is or not), why give it away to a proprietary provider?

Plus, OSM allows for a much richer view of the world, particularly if you're not in a car.

The consensus is Google won search because they have the best results. Look at your favorite area and ask yourself whether that is true for maps.

Comment from JohnSmith on 4 November 2009 at 03:40


I can't understand why people would want to donate their time so Google can profit from it...

Comment from Gnurfos on 4 November 2009 at 06:30

Because they don't know OSM exists.
Or maybe they think its quality is way below that of GoogleMaps, and can't imagine it will ever top it.

But that will change over time, hopefully. A little advertising and polish on the tools, and the masses will fall for OSM !

Comment from daveemtb on 4 November 2009 at 08:53

My opinion is that people are donating data to Google rather than to OSM because they want to be able to USE it EASILY. OSM is great, and I've given a lot of time to it, but I think until the output tools are there (think equivalent of google maps on your phone, that lets you access all the cool data in OSM, eg ask "where is the nearest public toilet?") then people will put their time into something that gives them a useful end product.

OSM is great but it won't get widely used until using it is as convenient or more convenient than the GOOG.

Comment from daveemtb on 4 November 2009 at 08:54

PS if I could program, I'd start programming these things, but I suck at programming :(

Comment from drlizau on 4 November 2009 at 09:29

Consider the competition as healthy for both. The existence of Google Mapmaker is an acknowledgement of OSM success.

Comment from Candid Dauth on 4 November 2009 at 20:40

In Google MapMaker, people can map without going out with a GPS device, because of the good satellite images (I haven’t ever used it, but I suppose they use the normal Google Satellite imagery). Furthemore I don’t think that they care much about copyright when they insert street names and other information.
This is not possible in OSM.

Comment from seav on 5 November 2009 at 04:16

@Candid, well, the Google Map Maker TOS states that contributors should not copy from copyrighted sources without permission. However, I don't think Google and the Map Maker user base actively police for copyright infringement unlike in OSM.

Comment from Buadhai on 5 November 2009 at 08:31

People are going to contribute to the platform that works for them. As things stand now, it is relatively easy to create a clickable map with custom POI's on Google Maps that you can embed in your web site. Google's GUI makes it simple. You can even include pictures and links in the popups all with simple pointing and clicking.

Accomplishing the same thing with OSM data and open layers is much, much harder. (But getting easier, thanks to sites like Easymap: )

To succeed, OSM needs tools for the masses.

Comment from Skippern on 5 November 2009 at 12:24

Google Maps does not let you edit any country in the world for some reason. I just had a look, and Brazil where I am mapping is closed for contributors for some reason I don't know. There are also no evidence of data added in the state of Espirito Santo (didn't check the rest of Brazil), so I would guess that Google Maps is useless in Brazil. But still, it is really hard for the Brazilian community to recruit new mappers. The community have grown quite some the last few months, but there are still a lot to do, and place for more mappers. Easy usable tools could probably benefit more for recruiting as more people will see the benefit.

If I could program I would make a map/routing program for Blackberry Curve (the phone I am about to buy)

Comment from Antwelm on 9 November 2009 at 01:51

+1 on daveemtb comment (output tools)

Login to leave a comment