Google India is organizing the Google Mapathon 2013 that anyone in India can participate in. I have been editing Google Maps for a little over a year now and have dutifully gotten myself enrolled in the said event. Why would you want to edit Google Maps, you say? Well because you have been using it all your life (well, practically) and you should consider giving back to the community. Besides, no one knows your locality more than you do and if you find there is a restaurant, clinic, parlour, phuchkawala which is not on Google Maps you can simply add it to the map. And it will be there for everyone to see. Having added/fixed several of my favourite restaurants (Mocambo, Peter Cat, Blue Poppy, Oly Pub, you name it) to the map I know the joy of seeing them magically turn up when I am checking in or on Google search page. Take this entry for the Indian Coffee House at Chandni Chowk, for example:
It feels great.
So, if you are feeling upto making a few edits yourself how do you go about it?
- First, go and sign up at the Mapathon 2013 page.
- Go to Map Maker and start making edits.
- If you have an Android phone/tablet you can bookmark places when you visit them using the Compass app. If you are standing in front of the place you would like to bookmark turn on the GPS and wait for the position to lock in, then go to compass and click on add to My Places. This will mark the place on the map on your phone. When you have access to a computer go to Map Maker and add the place by referring to your bookmark on the phone. This has to be done manually still since there is no mobile app for Map Maker that will add a place directly from your phone. Let us hope Google is working on that.
- Use My Tracks to mark roads, or trails or boundaries of buildings (yes, you will have to walk around it). You can export the tracks as a KML to your Map Maker profile.
For most places in your locality you will probably not need to locate it on GPS. You can add it by looking at the satellite view on Map Maker. Here is a videos on how to add a place or a road on Google Map Maker. You can even help by adding details to an already existing place or by correcting their location on the map.
Finally, keep in mind that editing maps is not about the number of edits. In the first two days of the Mapathon I have seen plenty of spammy edits with generic names for places (Hotel, Building, Showroom, etc). Don’t do that. You are ruining the map of your own city for the world. Take care to add phone numbers, modes of payment (cash, card, etc), hours of operation for places you add. If you know a place is closed on Sunday make sure that is marked in the hours of operation field. Happy Mapping!