Google Map Maker, map maker, make me a map (of the 3rd world)

Google is getting increasingly good at getting its community to do its work for them with Google Maps. Today’s example is a new service called Google Map Maker, which, as you might expect, allows users to play cartographer.

When I first opened the program, I though “oh cool, I have a blank canvas of the world to make any map I want.” But Google already has a service for that, My Maps. This is something different.

With Map Maker, Google is reaching out to some of the developing parts of the world which it doesn’t have the best data for yet and hopes locals (or those that know the area well) will fill in what is missing.

This is why you cannot use the tools in all areas, instead you can only use it to fill in data for the following countries:

Cyprus, Iceland, Pakistan, Vietnam as well as the Caribbean nations of: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

In these area you can add roads, points of interest and regions. This data will then be relayed back to Google so it can place it on the actual Google Maps product.

Zooming in on the United States or any other region with ample data will simply keep the mapping tools grayed out, so you cannot edit the area.

There’s a pretty nifty before-and-after picture (below) to show you just how powerful such a tool can be in the hands of the community. Google basically had no data for Myanmar prior to the deadly cyclone hitting the area. With the help of the community and some engineers, now it has all the data you see below.