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Community / Public space

Google Map Maker is coming back, but this time it'll be a lot harder to vandalise

In perhaps the most internet story ever, a tool which allowed Google users to edit its maps was shut down in May after someone drew an android urinating onto an apple just outside the Pakistani city of Rawlpindi. 

If you’re finding that hard to visualise, feast your eyes: 

As you might have guessed, the stunt was a dig at a certain rival to Google and its Android operating system.


Map Maker was first introduced in 2008 to allow internet users to plug gaps in Google’s maps coverage across the world. As proof that no good joke goes unpunished, however, the service has been suspended ever since the Android prank, while Google figured out how to make the tool less vulnerable to vandals.

But this week, a post on Google’s blog announced Map Maker’s return:

Map Maker will be reopened for editing in early August, and we’re looking for users to now have more influence over the outcome of edits in their specific countries. 

The big change is that edits will now be moderated by the community, and overseen by “Regional Leads”, to be selected by Google itself. This new, more hierarchial system will mean edits take a little longer to process, as they will go through human moderators and Google’s automated moderating system. But as a result, they should be more accurate, and less prone to embarassing (if hilarious) stunts. 
This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.