Thursday, April 25, 2013

Building Better Maps in Southeast Asia

(Cross-posted from Google Lat/Long blog. These updated maps are available immediately in all Google Maps APIs.)

Have you ever found yourself standing on the western bank of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, looking for a way to get across to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha? Or perhaps you’ve spent time scouring a map of Jakarta to find Indonesia’s famous National Monument. In order to make it easier for locals and visitors alike to find what they need and get to where they want to go, today we are publishing more comprehensive and accurate maps for Thailand and Indonesia.

These updated maps are part of a project called Ground Truth that began in 2008 as part of our ongoing quest to provide people everywhere with the most comprehensive and accurate maps. Through this project, we use 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 help create a map that mirrors the real world as closely as possible.

For example, the updated map for Thailand now provides more comprehensive information about the Bangkok city center shown below. So next time you happen to find yourself needing to cross the Chao Phraya River, you’ll be able to see that many ferry routes across the river are now mapped in greater detail, with route names shown and piers clearly marked. You can also pinpoint nearby points of interest, such as the Grand Palace and other sites like Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha).


We’ve also added many other kinds of new information to the map, including improved local-language labels and detailed coverage for prominent places like universities and hospitals. For example, the new map shows building outlines, department labels, and colored highlighting for campus grounds at the Gadjah Mada University, one of Indonesia’s largest universities.

Today’s update also makes our maps more comprehensive by bringing more of Thailand and Indonesia’s natural geography online for everyone to see. The country of Indonesia spans more than 17,000 islands; with today’s update, many of these islands — including Komodo Island, home to some world-famous dragons — are appearing on Google Maps for the first time.

Of course, the world is always changing, and we want Google Maps to change with it. If you happen to notice something on the map that needs updating, you can let us know by clicking the “Report a problem” link, which is visible today in the lower right corner of your screen when you’re browsing the map of Thailand or Indonesia. We’ll review your comments and make the appropriate changes to the map; you’ll often see the updates take effect within just a few minutes or hours of the time we verify your feedback!

Today’s updated maps are just another milestone on our never-ending journey to bring you the most accurate and comprehensive maps of the entire world. We hope Google Maps will help you explore your way through Bangkok, Bali, Bandung, and more!

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Google Maps and Google Earth