Google has updated its maps for 10 European countries, a move the company chalks up to its Ground Truth programme.
The updated Google Maps, announced on Thursday, cover Andorra, Bulgaria, Estonia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Ground Truth is Google's programme for developing its maps in-house, rather than simply relying on external data sources as it originally did. The scheme still uses external information, but mixes it with Street View data, human input and computer algorithms to achieve as much accuracy as possible.
According to a blog post from Google Maps chief Brian McClendon, an example of the enhanced maps can be found in a recently-opened 70km section of Bulgaria's Trakiya motorway, which is not yet found on most maps of the area.
"But roads and highways alone don’t define the character of a place, and they aren’t always sufficient to help you get around," McClendon wrote. "So Google Maps also integrates information such as walking paths, ferry lines, building outlines, park boundaries, university campuses and more — providing a richer, more comprehensive and more realistic experience for locals, visitors and armchair travellers alike."
Part of the Ground Truth initiative, which is live in 40 countries, involves getting feedback from users who are in the area. (I myself have used this feature to correct a mislabelling on my old university campus in Cape Town.)
This feature is now available for the first time in the 10 countries listed above.