Google Map Maker Returns From Lengthy Hiatus Next Month

If you were bummed that Google shut down its Maps editing tool in May, you'll be happy to know that Map Maker is reopening in early August. At the same time, there will be some changes and additional safeguards to avoid another embarrassing scenario like the one that prompted Google to temporarily shutter the service in the first place.

In case you missed it, someone posted an image of Android relieving itself on Apple's logo just south of Islamabad, Pakistan. it's an image you've probably seen before in some fashion, usually with Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes whizzing on a Ford or Chevy logo, depending on the where the sticker owner's allegiance lies.

Google Maps

This time around, Google is "looking for users to now have more influence over the outcome of edits in their specific countries," said Pavithra Kanakarajan, Product Manager for Google Map Maker. "This means that edits on Map Maker will be increasingly made open for moderation by the community."

Some edits will still require oversight by Google, though it's a daunting task, so Google is looking for help from trusted community members.

"The reason for this change is that every time we observed someone attempting to vandalize the map, many of you acted quickly to remove the offending feature and demonstrated real ownership for maps within your region," Kanakarajan said. "We have come to the conclusion that of all the defenses available to keeping our maps clean, the interest of a community of well-intentioned users, is among the most reliable and fast."

Kanakarajan says Map Maker will reopen in phases. Invitations will be sent out to Regional Lead candidates to apply for the position. If accepted, they'll be able to review edits in their region. Once all the Regional Lead roles are filled, Map Maker will be back in action.