Microsoft Calls All Cartographers With Updated Maps App

The updated Maps app in Windows 10 Creators Update makes it easier and faster for users to report inaccurate map data.

Microsoft

A revamped Microsoft Windows Maps app is rolling out alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update, offering users more ways to interact with the company's location information.

Virtual reality, built-in 3D support and other capabilities aimed at PC enthusiasts and creative professionals may have stolen the spotlight during the recent release of the Windows 10 Creators Update. But there are other new features in store for users with more basic needs, like getting around unfamiliar surroundings.

According to Dave Alles, partner and group program manager of Windows Maps at Microsoft, the latest version of Maps offers travelers and virtual explorers more tools for navigating the real world. Among them is a feature that uses a crowdsourcing approach to help improve the quality of the map data produced by the app.

One of the most frustrating issues faced by GPS users is outdated map data. A change in traffic patterns or a decommissioned road can turn a customer visit or simple sightseeing trip into an ordeal. Previously, Maps users took to the Feedback Hub in Windows to report issues, a scheme that sometimes made it difficult for Alles' team to act quickly on submissions.

Now, Maps offers a more focused feedback mechanism.

"You can now tell us if something is wrong with the map itself, such as a missing road or a city name in the wrong language, just by pointing at it and describing what's wrong. You can also tell us if search isn't finding the thing you want, or if search is doing something silly like giving you a hospital in a list of Italian restaurants," wrote Alles in a blog post.

"By submitting this type of feedback directly within the app by using the Suggest change button on the bottom right you'll be helping us improve the map data and make maps better for everyone," added Alles.

Aligning with the Windows 10 Creators Update focus on 3D content, Maps now offers updated visuals that better reflects an area's landscape and terrain. In the road view, labels now either lie flat or appear to stand up to improve legibility as the scene shifts or rotates.

The updated app also now allows users to add annotations using Windows Ink in Aerial mode. To improve accessibility, Maps now works better with screen readers, offering more information as users move around a map.

To help users better organize points of interest that they may be reluctant to add to their list of favorites, Microsoft has added collections. Now users can gather locations and save them to themed collections, along with optional notes that can help add context.

Maps users can also now plan trips with multiple stops along the way. The app can now generate walking and driving directions with multiple destinations, eliminating the need to request new directions when each leg of a trip is completed.

Other new features include pop-up details that appear when the mouse hovers a place icon and a dark theme for the road map view. A list of new features is available in this blog post.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...