Google India takes crowdsourcing route to improve quality of India maps

InformationWeek, February 7, 2013

The search engine giant has announced Google’s first ever mapping competition called Mapathon 2013

In order to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps of India, Google is looking to use the wisdom of the crowds. The search engine giant has announced Google’s first ever mapping competition in India called Mapathon 2013

Mapathon 2013 — which starts on February 12 and culminates on March 25, 2013 — is an India-wide   mapping contest open to just about anybody who lives in India. Google is inviting amateur mappers and mapping enthusiasts from all over the country to help it create better maps for India by adding their knowledge of local places through Google Map Maker.

To encourage participation, Google has announced various prizes. The top 1000 mappers participating in Mapathon stand a chance to win Android tablets, smartphones, gift vouchers and Google merchandise.

Karthik Babu, a sales executive based in Bangalore, began actively mapping local Indian locations using Google Map Maker back in December 2009. Commenting on his motivations to map, Karthik said, "To me, maps are important as they help provide useful information about a state or a city in a way that can be accessed easily by most Indians. In a country as big as ours, it's especially important for us to find better ways to communicate local information. This is why I started using Google Map Maker — if we can all help by mapping local hospitals, schools, rivers, temples, and even petrol pumps, then we can make a difference in people's lives. And through this difference, we can all contribute to India’s social development."

So how does it all work? Google Map Maker is an easy-to-use tool that allows users to add more detail to Google Maps through a few simple clicks. Using Google Map Maker, you can select a specific area on Google Maps and add new information based on your own local knowledge or by referencing Google Maps satellite imagery.  With just another click, you can save and submit your input — and once the submitted edit has been verified, the new information will be added to Google Maps.

Highlighting the USP of Google Map Maker, Jayanth Mysore, Product Manager, Google India says, “It has always been our endeavour at Google to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. One way we hope to achieve this is by mapping the world and what better way to do this than by asking users to map their neighbourhood. Google aims to provide better maps for India by building better maps for the users, by the users. What started off as an initiative by a few Google engineers is now used across the world and today, citizens across India can participate in this great project through Mapathon 2013.”

Google Map Maker was conceptualized in India more than 4 years ago, and ever since, it has provided a rich set of features for users to map with.

The registrations for the competition have been opened, and one can register at:
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