In April 2011 Google opened up the U.S. map for editing in its Map Maker application, allowing web developers and any user, for that matter, to add places, edit places, add roads, and review edits made by others on the Google Map.

Map Maker gives you the capability to edit Google Maps directly, giving you access to correct errors you may find, add missing points or places of interest, and append details to existing content.

Google Map Maker allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in both Google Maps and Google Earth. Once your edits are made and approved you will provide the world a more accurate view of the locations and points of interest that are under your appraisal.

Run a search in Google Maps using your business’s or organization’s address, look at the results to see where your point of interest or feature shows up, and review the detail that is displayed. Is the pointer feature accurately positioned, and does the content detail accurately represent your organization? Does your company or organization operate on a large campus with many buildings spread over several acres of land? If so, you can make sure every building has its own detailed point of interest; and, you can add in roads, paths, and the boundary line of your site. The added detail will make your Google Map easier and more useful to customers, employees, and visitors. Updating your business locations with accurate detail On Google Map Maker will help your customers to find you, and will give you an edge during map location searches.

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Map Maker options

The options in Map Maker are explained in more detail below.

Add Place: Add a place or add more detail to the areas you care about.

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Edit Place: Make edits to places already on the map. Parts of your neighborhood may already be mapped on Google Maps. Improve these further using your knowledge of your locality.

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Add Road: Draw roads or add missing roads, hiking trails, waterways, and more. Mark bike lanes throughout your town and show which roads are suitable for cycling.
Review edits by other users: Learn how you can support other users’ mapping in your neighborhood. The map is constantly evolving with contributions from thousands of users all over the world. Review and provide feedback on changes by other users in the areas you care about. Help keep your neighborhood up to date on Google Maps.

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General overview of the process to editing a map

  1. Make your edits to an existing place or add a new place and submit the updates; make sure your new place falls within the category list, and add your supporting comments.
  2. All new edits or additions are placed into a pending review status, and will remain unpublished until an Official Google Maps reviewer has scanned and approved your revisions.
  3. On occasion, the reviewer will ask questions or make suggestions, or they may request more information to verify and validate the edits.
  4. You then respond to the suggestions, comments, or questions and if they are reasonable, you make the necessary edits and resubmit your updates. If the reviewer’s suggestions do not make sense or they seem unreasonable, it will be necessary for you to ask questions, clarify, or submit comments and documentation that support your position.

For more detail into getting your feet wet with Google Map Maker, begin with the “Getting Started Guide,” and “Getting to know Map Maker,” which starts with the interface and describes the tools and features available including the viewport, street view, top menu bar, toolbar, and the getting started tool.

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What are the reviewers looking for when you make an edit, or add a new place on Google Map Maker?

Make sure you read the “How To” for reviewing edits; it has valuable information that can help you once you understand what the reviewers are doing and what they are looking for when they assess your edits.

Reviewers will be asking the following questions as they evaluate your edits, so make sure you have the right information before they get to work on your updates:

  • Is the location accurate?
  • Have the details been added correctly?
  • Does the edit comply with the Map Maker Terms of Service?
  • Does the History of edits show any notes that are helpful to the related edit or feature?

Tips for working with reviewers to get your edits published sooner

  • Use the comments section to your advantage. Provide as much documentation and supporting information about your location as possible, include images, and links to documents that support your position. Make sure they know you are the subject matter expert for your business or organizations location. Another good idea is to keep the comment information copied in another document, that way you can track the progress and easily copy it into the comment section if subsequent edits are required.
  • Have patience with the reviewers. They may be asking for clarification or additional information to verify and validate the edits you have made because they want to ensure that the facts are consistent with the location. For example, there may be an existing feature nearby the one you are attempting to add on the map, and they may request that you update the existing feature and undo the edit to the added feature. Part of the reviewer’s job is to prevent redundancy and clutter on the Google Map.
  • Do not make guesses about your feature or point of interest. If you don’t know the information for a particular field, leave it blank if you cannot provide an answer. One thing that will drag out your approval is when a reviewer does not know how to handle an odd or conflicting information field, i.e., the “Description” field is left blank, or a Photo URL that was added is the wrong or outdated image.

Get inspiration from the Map Maker Gallery

The Google Map Maker Gallery displays many examples of maps that users have created using their knowledge of locations. Many show the before and after maps, and you can also review several time-lapse videos including Karachi, Pakistan; Santiago, Chile; and several locations in the Philippines.

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Once you get a grip on the approval process and the various imperfections of Google Map Maker, the benefit is to give your customers better and more accurate information when they are researching your business or organization. It will also help them find your location with additional feature markers and points of interest.