Yesterday, Google announced that maps created via Google Map Maker have been formally migrated and integrated into Google Maps.
This is a significant moment for world mapping, Google’s move towards mapping independence and for the competition between Google and other Mapping sites.
Historically, the two primary mapping data suppliers, TeleAtlas & Navteq have focused on providing maps and navigation support in a limited number of profitable, developed markets. Google’s introduction of Map Maker, created an environment where populous but less developed areas could generate their own maps.
According to the LatLong blog the “following are the 16 countries that now have data available in Google Maps: Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guam, Iceland, Mauritius, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe”.
These maps provide a global reach that Mapquest can not duplicate due to its reliance on Navteq. When combined with the possibilities offered by Streetview, they point to a time when it is very likely that Google will control both the market for online maps and its underlying data within their products.
The problems confronting user generated content in gathering underlying maps data are significantly less than when generating business data. The user motivations are significantly different and the possibility, when matched against satellite imagery, for quality much greater. It would be interesting to examine, in some formal way, the relative quality of these maps against those provided by TeleAtlas.