Google Geonews: Google Using Their Basemaps for 10 More Countries, More on Costa Rica and Nicaragua Boundary, Spatial Queries in Fusion Tables, and much more

Here's recent Google-related geonews.

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  1. Where does Google say it’s using its own data for those countries?

    • Good question. It’s not entirely “theirs”, but the major element to understand is that they don’t use Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ data for these countries anymore.

      They use a mix of various sources, the details are found here for the U.S., a mix which includes openly available data in addition to *their* data that came from Google Map Maker crowdsourcing. The license of Google Map Maker makes this data “theirs”.

  2. Google Map Maker is not available in U.S. and many other countries (including none of those listed above), so tapping it as you suggest is not possible. See:

    Google in fact said nothing about switching its basemaps. It said the maps were updated. At least one blogger (who actually checked) notes that some areas listed above have commercial data copyright while others do not. Google itself states, after he asked: “Tele Atlas continues to provide us with map data for many countries in Europe.”

    I hope this helps clear things up.

    • Hi Anonymous – thanks for correcting me!

      As you pointed out, I am in fact 100% wrong about the use of Google Map Maker for these countries. I wrongly presumed a connection between Google Map Maker and the ‘Report a problem’ feature in Google Maps. (I never used Google Map Maker myself yet)

      So, if I’m not mistaken, Google, for the U.S., uses “For example, in the US there are a number of publicly accessible geospatial datasets created by the government for the Census, land surveying, and transportation. These datasets provide information on everything from road networks and water bodies to toll roads and bridges. By integrating this information, and working with specialized data sources like the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Boundaries and the US Geological Survey’s National Hydrography Dataset, we’ve been able to expand and improve features in our maps like parks and water bodies. Satellite, aerial, and Street View imagery also helped”

      in addition to, as specified in the link of my initial reply (but that I obviously didn’t read entirely): “Well, we’ve found our users are also remarkable data sources themselves, so we’ve added a new tool to Google Maps that lets you communicate directly with Google about any updates that you think need to be made to our maps. You’ll find this “Report a Problem” link on the bottom right of Google Maps” … so yes, they do crowdsource improvements of “their” basemaps. As I said, I used “their” because it’s not Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ for these countries anymore, and that they own (afaik) the improvements made by their users.

      Better this time? Don’t hesitate to provide any additional precision 🙂

  3. The story from Search Engine Land reports that highlights that the Tele Atlas copyright appears in some areas in the list above, but not others. I checked it today and found the Tele Atlas copyright at some smaller scales (larger area viewed on map) but not in larger ones (smaller are in more definition on the map). So, I feel confident that, as Google stated and was quoted above, there is still some Tele Atlas data along with Google’s “own” on those maps. Have a look for yourself at Denmark or The Netherlands. You’ll see the Tele Atlas copyright appear and disappear as you zoom in and out. Thus I respectfully disagree with this statement: “I used “their” because it’s not Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ for these countries anymore.”

    Have a great day!

    • If Google’s statement “we’ve added a new tool to Google Maps that lets you communicate directly with Google about any updates that you think need to be made to our maps” means that they keep for themselves the crowdsourced map improvements, then it seems we would be both right. They would be using “their” data in addition to Tele Atlas’ data.

      I do not know to which extent Google have been using Tele Atlas’ data after these changes, or to which extent they will be used for the U.S. in the upcoming months. Anyone has a clue?