Google announced late last year that it would shut down Map Maker, its online tool that allowed anyone to contribute updates to Google Maps. The service, which had been around since 2008, let users correct or fill in missing map content – like place details, roads, business information and more. This was especially useful in helping establish maps in emerging markets, where official, detailed local maps were often not available.
The company had said that Map Maker would retire in March 2017. According to a post on Google’s Help site for the service, Map Maker officially closed on March 31, 2017.
Over the years, the community edited and moderated millions of features to improve Maps, Google said in the announcement.
Of course, it wasn’t always smooth sailing over at Map Maker. Its reliance on crowd sourced content sometimes got it in trouble, such as when the service was famously used to vandalize Google Maps with an image of the Google Android character urinating on the Apple logo. Following that incident and a few other spam attacks, Google temporarily shut down Map Maker to tighten its security.
But eventually, the service began to overlap too much with Google’s Local Guides, a program that rewards power users for contributing updates to Google Maps, and is mainly centered around improving business listings.
Going forward, some of the Map Maker editing features are getting absorbed by Local Guides, including adding and editing places, sharing additional details about a place, moderating edits, viewing the status of your edits, and, most recently, editing road segments. These features will be available on both desktop and mobile, Google says.
At the time Google announced road segment edits, it said that it would soon add other road editing features, like the ability to report missing roads, report issues on a full route, and then later, report real-time information, like road closures and events.
Local Guides will continue to be rewarded for their contributions – including being able to get early access to new Google Maps features in the future – as they take over the job from the Map Maker community. Google also said that better moderation experiences were in the works, too.