Google Maps has been an exhilarting product allowing many to gain a better understanding of the world around them with constant innovation. Sergey Brin noted in his annual Google Founder’s letter that “after the launch of Google Map Maker in Pakistan, users mapped 25,000 kilometers of uncharted road in just two months”. That’s pretty cool stuff. It has also been a product that seems to bring out the worst in people looking to gain a leg up with spamming and hijackings.
The Swine Flu epidemic is a perfect case in point and it shows the contradictions in Maps in bold relief. Google Maps was used to track the spread of the epidemic around the world. The major press and a bevy of blogs widely covered this beneficial use of Maps that helped inform and educate.
But given that Maps is open and easily open to abuse, there are now searches like Swine Flu NY, NY that return spam in Maps of the most exploitive sorts. SafetyGearandMore.com were not the only ones to utilize Maps for their commercial advantage as several others across the US did as well. As Dickens noted in The Tale of Two Cities:
English novelist (1812 – 1870)