Google has made its Map Maker tool available in the UK, enabling users to add details to buildings, walking paths, vegetation, and other features in its maps of the UK.
The tool, which was launched in the UK on Thursday, enables users to add specific details to areas where Google's maps have traditionally been less comprehensive.
Any suggested changes will only go live once they have been reviewed by other members in the Google Map Maker community or Google employees. Once approved, the changes will appear across Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile.
Ahead of the UK launch, workers at Bletchley Park — the site of Britain's World War II codebreaking efforts — trialled the software to help promote the tool. They were able to make the following changes to the map for the site, which can be seen below.
The Google Map Maker menu allows users to add four types of content by drawing shapes, labelling places and providing attributes. The four types of content include:
- places — such as shops, restaurants, gyms and cinemas
- roads, rivers and railways — including footpaths and cycle routes
- building outlines — for adding buildings, towers and monuments
- natural features and political boundaries — such as lakes and the borders of towns and cities
Previously it was only possible to change a UK map by reporting problems to Google or suggesting limited changes.
Google launched Map Maker in 2008 in a limited number of countries. Since then the tool has helped Google map territories it could not access with its sensor-equipped cars, bikes and walkers, such as North Korea.
Map Maker users may wish to bear in mind the Google's terms and conditions, which state: "You give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, distribute, and create derivative works of the user submission."
Google is not the only company seeking to bolster mapping services by outsourcing cartographic efforts to volunteers.
Nokia is also beta testing a browser-based Map Creator tool for its maps. However, this is currently limited in Europe to a few islands belonging to Norway and Denmark.