Google Mapping: All For One, One For All

23 08 2012

Todd Scott of the Detroit Greenways Coalition was recently featured on Google’s blog for his efforts of creating accurate cycling and trail maps for the city of Detroit. Using Google’s Map Maker tool, Scott is charting the everyday routes of many cyclists and helping Detroit become a more bicycle-friendly city.

You’ve probably heard of Google Maps, but you may be wondering “Just what IS the Map Maker and how does it work?”

This tool allows anyone to update geographic information in Google Maps and Google Earth. According to the Map Maker information page, “By sharing information about the places you know, like businesses in your town or places in your school campus, you can ensure that the map accurately reflects the world around you.”  The updates will be reviewed and if approved, will be seen online for people from all over the world to see. Google Map Maker can be used in over 200 countries and regions around the globe.

With Google Map Maker, you can:

  • Add places of interest such as your local restaurants, cafes, schools and more.
  • Edit and update details for existing places.
  • Help avid hikers and bikers by mapping trails, be it for a casual or an adventurous trip!
  • Get driving directions and also help in making them more accurate.
  • See what your peers are mapping in specific areas.

What does this mean for trails? Trails are sometimes under construction on a year to year basis and it’s difficult for Google Maps to stay current with all of the changes. This is where you come in. If you notice a trail is missing from the map, sign into your Google account and make a few updates. In order for Google to be reliable and provide accurate information, they need the general public’s help in submitting some of that material. Your additions could be seen from people all over the world!

I encourage you to check out the Map Maker and be a resource for the trails in your community.

Need more info? Check out the Map Your World community forum.

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