Google Map Maker, the tool which allows anyone around the world to contribute information to Google’s worldwide map, has re-opened in 45 countries after going live again in 6 countries two weeks ago. The product was temporarily shut down in May after it was discovered that some nefarious edits to the map, like geographic polygons shaped to depict an Android peeing on what is ostensibly an Apple logo, were being approved.
“As part of the second phase of Map Maker’s reopening, 45 more countries are open for editing starting today,” said product manager of Map Maker, Pavithra Kanakarajan, in a post to Google’s product forums.
A couple things are different now from when the product was closed for submissions in May. Namely, Google has chosen “Regional Leads” from each region of the world to moderate their area and ensure only legitimate modifications to the map are approved. This is important because these modifications will be seen by the millions of people who use Google Maps on a daily basis. These individuals from the community are singled out “based on the history and quality of their contributions to Google Maps and the Map Maker community,” and then are invited to apply to become the Regional Lead for their location. Submissions are also now reviewed by an automated system that can send a handful of edits to a Google employee for review, in the event that it’s unsure whether or not there’s something wrong with the submission.
The other major change is that polygon editing has been disabled indefinitely. Polygons on Google Maps can be shaded areas to signify mountainous regions, parks, forests, and other similar areas. These are what were used to create the now infamous image of an Android character peeing on an Apple logo:
You can find out if the use of Map Maker has be re-opened in your country by visiting google.com/mapmaker and typing your country into the dialog box that appears. In the event that it is again available in your location, you’ll see a “We are glad to be back!” message with a list of the aforementioned changes.