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Google Map Maker is an online tool developed by Google that opens up Google Maps to collaborative community input in countries where quality mapping data is unavailable.
Users can enter mapping data for 164 countries in the world for which there is currently only low quality mapping data available. It enables contributors to add placemarks (a single point of interest on the map), lines (for drawing roads, railways, rivers etc.) and polygons (for defining boundaries and borders, adding parks, lakes and other large features). Data for a number of areas has already been incorporated into Google Maps..
In March 2009 Google released for download vector data from Map Maker, for Kenya only at the moment, in either .KML or in ESRI Shapefile format. The terms state it is for non-commercial non-profit purposes only.
Google Map Maker was officially launched on 24th June 2008. The initiative is likely to be welcomed in areas of the world without mapping. The initiative was criticised for their disregard of projects such as OpenStreetMap and for their terms and conditions that restricted the use of user collected data by others.
Further expansion of the number of areas open to editing is expected.
- Google Map Maker
- Google Map Maker Wikipedia article
- Mapperz post about students in Kenya mapping an area for Google