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Most asked questions about the way Google Maps uses data

Google Maps is everyday used by over a billion people, and keeping it updated real-time isn’t easy. People get curious about how Google collects volumes of data, keeps it up-to-date. Let’s look at some of the Frequently Asked Questions that Google answered in its official blog.

How to submit updated information?

“Anyone who uses Google Maps can let us know about data issues via the Send Feedback (desktop Maps) and Suggest an Edit (place profiles on Maps and Search) tools. For Google Maps Platform customers using one of our industry solutions (like gaming), the product includes an API for reporting bad points, enabling our game studio partners to report issues to us so we can take action accordingly”, says  Ethan Russel, Product Director, Google Maps in the blog post.

How often is Google maps data updated?

Google updates its maps literally every second. It constantly gathers new information, whether it is fromm satellite imagery or Street View or Google Maps.

“Google Maps users contribute more than 20 million pieces of information every day–that’s more than 200 contributions every second. In addition to the updates we make from what people tell us, we’re making countless updates uncovered through other means like the imagery and machine learning efforts we’ve shared with you in the recent Beyond the Map blog posts posts”, says Russel.

How do organizations contribute to data?

Google has a tool known as Geo Data Upload tool that can be used by organizations and institutions that have an enormous volume of data. “Agencies that manage online marketing for a variety of businesses can use Google My Business to add and update business information. Not only does it get business info into our Places APIs, but it offers a wide range of tools to help businesses better connect with consumers through features like messaging, product inventory, and more on Google Maps and Search”, adds Russel.

How to efficiently manage data in a fast-changing world?

Google builds data at a global scale and processes a lot of information. We have many different types of data–roads, buildings, addresses, businesses, and all their various attributes–and imagery from different viewpoints at high resolution. Luckily, we’re not starting from scratch here. From processing and storage systems like Dataflow and Cloud Spanner to machine learning libraries and frameworks like TensorFlow, we’re able to make sense of a river of incoming data, answers Russel.

What’s the most fascinating way any organization has contributed maps data?

Solar-powered cameras were strapped to sheep’s woolly backs to collect imagery of the Faroe Islands for Street View. The 18 Faroe Islands are home to just 50,000 people, but—fittingly for a country whose name means “Sheep Island”—there are 70,000 sheep roaming the green hills and volcanic cliffs of the archipelago, says Russel.