Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Building a better map of Europe, and Report a Problem in API maps

More than 800,000 web sites use the Google Maps API to create compelling location-rich applications, including travel guides, real estate portals, engaging data visualizations, and many more.  To help ensure that the maps behind these applications are best in class, the Google Maps team works constantly to ensure that our geographic data is comprehensive and accurate. As part of this ongoing effort, we’re happy to announce we’ve just released updated maps for 10 countries and regions in Europe: Andorra, Bulgaria, Estonia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. These new maps will appear immediately on all Google Maps API sites, with no code changes required.

Today’s update is part of a project called Ground Truth that began in 2008. Through this initiative, we acquire high-quality map data from authoritative sources around the world and then apply a mix of advanced algorithms, supplemental data (including satellite, aerial and Street View imagery), and human input to create a map that corresponds as closely as possible to the real-world facts that you’d find if you were to visit that location.

For example, this update adds a new 70-km section of Bulgaria’s Trakiya motorway, which opened recently to drivers but hasn’t been reflected on most maps of the region until now.



In addition to updating our map data, we’ve also enabled the “Report a problem” tool in the API for each of the 40+ countries where this tool is available on the consumer version of Google Maps.  Through this tool, any visitor to a Google Maps API V3 site can now submit corrections and feedback directly to Google, just as they might on maps.google.com.  We review and verify all user feedback and then publish any appropriate corrections -- often within just a few minutes or hours of our review.  The launch of the “Report a problem” tool in the Maps API allows the Google Maps team to increase the accuracy of our maps -- and provide quick and targeted updates to both developers and consumers -- without requiring any work from the owners of sites that use our API.  

We hope these more comprehensive and accurate maps of Europe will enable Google Maps API developers to further enhance their applications (or create entirely new ones) from Barcelona and Budapest to Bratislava and beyond!

Posted by Ken Hoetmer, Google Maps API Product Manager