Google uses Crowdsourcing to map cities in India

Google uses Crowdsourcing to map cities in India

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Cambridge, UK, August 4, 2007: Google has been sending GPS kits to India to enable locals to make more detailed maps of their respective areas. Once the data is uploaded and then verified against other participant’s data it would become part of the map.
The process is very reminiscent of what Open Street Map, the community map-building project, has been doing. The biggest difference could be that the data is owned by Google and is not freely available back to the community like in case of OSM.
In one of the relevant portions of the transcription of the speech from Dan Karran’s website, of Michael T. Jones (CTO of Google Earth), which he gave at the Cambridge Conference, said: “Now, everything you see here was created by people in Hyderabad. We have a pilot program running in India. We’ve done about 50 cities now, in their completeness, with driving directions and everything – completely done by having locals use some software we haven’t released publicly to draw their city on top of our photo imagery.”
“So we’re building a little care package, which we plan to send to countries like Togo also, and say if you want to have maps of your country, you may not have a national mapping agency of any merit, but to have some inspired amateurs, you can map out your country. Fill out all the details and then you can do routing and navigation just like in the big countries,” added Jones.
It is interesting to see the continuing inclusion of user-generated content in mapping data and through this process of ‘crowdsourcing’, Google made it clear that it was going to pursue this method of getting data very seriously when they began building out Google Earth, along with user contributing 3D models. But Google certainly isn’t the only one taking this approach. GPS manufacturer Tomtom just bought data-provider Tele Atlas, a move that will create millions of map contributors out of its users. As-yet-to-be-launched startup Everyscape will be enlisting GPS-empowered photographers to document towns.