Google Map Maker, the innovative Google maps service that allows people to add valuable details to local Google Maps so they can share the information with others, is now accessible for users in the United Kingdom.
Google Map Maker, which launched in 2008, has been adding new nations since it began to bring the capabilities to many more users. It was launched in the United States in 2011 and today includes maps for more than 200 countries and regions, according to Google.
The introduction of Map Maker in the U.K. was announced April 11 in a post by Satish Mavuri, program manager for the project, on the Google Maps Lat Long Blog.
"More than 40,000 people around the world are making contributions and improving Google Maps through Google Map Maker each month," wrote Mavuri. "Now it's your turn to help, whether marking the trails through Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, adding all your favorite shops in London's Soho Square, or improving driving directions to St. Ives in Cornwall."
Like the other Map Maker sites available in other nations, users can draw from their own knowledge about world famous tourist destinations or the streets of their hometown and enter them onto existing Google Maps to improve them for all users, wrote Mavuri. The entries are reviewed and must be approved before they are available to other users under the program.
"You can now use Google Map Maker to make the map of the United Kingdom (along with Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey) more comprehensive and accurate than ever before. Once approved, these improvements will appear across Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile," wrote Mavuri.
There's a Map Maker online forum where participants can join a community of mappers to discuss the service and how to use it, as well as a Map Maker Help Center where users can get assistance on how it works.
Google Map Maker rolled out in the United States in April 2011, allowing citizens to add cartographic details about locations and businesses around the country.
Map Maker allows amateur cartographers to visually mark locations and add detailed information to Google Maps data, which helps make Google's own maps even richer. Users can detail their favorite local restaurants, malls and shops, or even mark town bike lanes. Users can also access Google Street View imagery directly in Map Maker and access advanced search options to display finer details such as railroad tracks.
Google Map Maker is available in 59 languages for users, including Bulgarian, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.
In January, Google Maps began receiving contributions from "citizen cartographers" in North Korea to improve the detail of Google Maps in that nation, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The map data provided details of many little seen areas in that nation through the help of the volunteers. North Korea had long been one of the largest places with little map data, according to Google.
And though the maps of North Korea are improved, they still don't equal the detail and quality of maps from other nations where the flow of information is not controlled by the government. An older Google map of the North Korean city of Pyongyang was very stark, with only the name of the city superimposed over a spot on the map. The newly updated version isn't completely detailed, but now includes several roadways that stretch through the area as well as the names of several nearby cities.