An Easier MapMaker Interface

In a recent comment Jeffrey Manger noted that “FYI the Mapmaker interface totally blows. What a confusing, ineffective, waste of my time. Maybe there is written instructions in a booklet somewhere on how to actually use this thing.”

I totally agree that the standard MapMaker interface is a total kludge. Only the most persistent and geeky can find their way around there. But there is a new, simplified MapMaker interface being rolled out in Canada that makes editing directly into MapMaker much easier.

You can see this interface by finding the G+Local page for any Canadian business and selecting the “Report a problem” link. It will take you to the simplified MapMaker front end with this new interface. The URL  contains a ton of unnecessary code.

To use this interface to edit a US business take a simplified version of the url:

and substitue the CID of your local business for the CID above and you will gain access to an interface that is functional and simple enough for us marketers. 🙂

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
An Easier MapMaker Interface by

15 thoughts on “An Easier MapMaker Interface”

  1. Mike, thanks for the simplified URL. If I were you, I was not going to use Barbara’s CID there, because it is very possible someone can just edit her listing in the rush. A “fake” CID like 0123456789… could be safer.

    The rumor has it the interface is going to be rolled out soon in the US as a default option, so let’s hope this will happen soon.

  2. Mike this is awesome! I was able to follow your instructions to get to this very easy and clear page and I actually submitted a request to fix a problem. It was all quite a lovely experience. Leave it to the sweet polite Canadians to make it a nice experience for us. Let’s hope that rollout happens soon.

  3. The current UI of editing from the Places/G+Local business page outside of Canada isn’t a MapMaker interface. Currently it is a Places interface that passes the data to MapMaker. This is a change as the Terms of Service of the new edit page is that you must comply with the GMM ToS. Having all of the editing being handled by one database/interface will be better for ease of use and more accurate data. Any time you edit an Address using the current UI directly on the business pages the address gets auto-abbrevatied. The new UI will allow better data input by not engaging in a bad practice of abbreviating addresses. Also the issues of category mismatch and ease of use will be improved. I’m encouraged that they’ll iron out all the bugs with the new UI and have a easier and more data friendly interface for people to use, who don’t want to fire up Map Maker to make one edit to a business.

  4. @ Andrew

    So you see the new UI as (1) something that Google will push business owners to use widely (maybe to take some burden off you RERs?) and as (2) something that *might* eventually replace the “Edit business details” option on Google+Local pages?

    1. @Phil
      My understanding is that this new interface will at some point become the standard community edit “report a problem” interface for all if the reasons that Andrew mentions.

      However Google will, as the rollout of the replacement for the dashboard moves forward, expect business owners with claimed listings to do most of their edits in the replacement.

      We are at a weird juncture right now where the Places dashboard is the least functional for pushing changes. That will soon change.

  5. Mike, I couldn’t agree more. The current interface is confusing, we’ve found that much of the data provided by Google for it is out of date, and as Andrew said, the auto-abbreviation not only creates a ton of uncertainty, but further confusion as to what Google is really seeing (especially when they have previously scraped other variations of the address).

    I’d think that with a better UI, the usage would increase, thus increasing the accuracy.

  6. @Phil to answer #1 it will make things easier as an RER, as I persuamably won’t have to fix address issues as the person will be able to select the full spelled out street and will be able to communicate back and forth via MapMaker instead of having to Approve/Deny. Also it will allow for asking questions of someone wanting to close a business and they will be able to comment on each change they’re making to explain (something that currently only Places support sees).

    To answer #2: Google will likely replace the Edit Business Details with the new GMM UI for Edit Business Details since that’s what they’re testing. I see it as a step towards “one ring to rule them all” instead of the current interfaces and databases structures which don’t always work well with one another.

  7. @Andrew
    Very interesting. Thanks so much for the intel.

    Thanks for posting. Yeah, I wonder if this will look like a turning point a few months from now.

  8. You can also take any Canadian POI (or when the UI flips in the US) and ‘convert’ it back to the old Maps UI (courtesy of Saikrishna Arcot, who has been ingeniously finding ways to cut out all that URL garbage), simply by appending the CID # to the end of this URL:

    Why would you want to do this? The data on Maps and MM don’t always match. Some categories and other information can become orphaned by using the new MM UI, making it harder to edit the information, especially if you’re trying to track down stray categories, telephone numbers, or URLs that are showing up in search but not in the MM UI.

  9. HI Mike, I was surprised when I clicked on your example of the new simplified map maker interface and it is only 10 minutes away from my house! I had a laugh.

    I have used the interface to change a few listings here in Winnipeg and Manitoba and it works pretty well. I wasn’t too familiar with the old tool or how long this one has been around in Canada but this new one has some neat features about what changes you have suggested in the past, what happened with those suggested changes etc. I’m honestly not sure if that is new or not but I never noticed it on the old interface.

  10. @Linda: I’m seeing it, too, but I’m also seeing that the MM and Local databases frequently don’t match up, like categories, websites, and telephone numbers. The data is now effectively siloed in the old database, which means that Support will have to come to the rescue to fix it, which kind of defeats the purpose of this new UI. Couldn’t Google run a sync bot to overwrite the Local data with MM data?

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