A Google Map Maker Roundup

Google announced today that Map Maker is now available for the United States; the tool that allows users to add contributions to Google Maps had, I thought, been targeted at countries where Google lacked map data, but it appears that user contributions are welcome in countries with existing data — once they’ve been reviewed.

So it looks like a Map Maker vs. OpenStreetMap conflict is shaping up. Last week, Mikel Maron accused Map Maker of copying OpenStreetMap’s model and exploiting freely made contributions in a way that benefits Google, in that the resulting data is not freely available; moreover, he says,

Corporations should not be the stewards of a public resource, and a potentially controversial public resource. Compare Gaza in OpenStreetMap and Gaza in Google for just one example of why this is a bad idea. We’re approaching a situation where a corporation is becoming the decision maker on international borders. Wait, did you think the UN or other international forum was supposed to have some role in these kind of things? Nope, Google is getting UN data too.

Meanwhile, a somewhat more laudatory piece on Map Maker appeared earlier this month in the Independent (via @Thierry_G).