July 13, 2024
Google wants to map more of the world's roads with expansion of 'Road Mapper' volunteer community

Google announced today that it is opening access to more contributors to participate in Road Mapper, a tool where you can add missing roads to Google Maps in areas of the world that need it most. The company also noted in today’s blog post that its contributors have mapped over 1.5 million kilometers of roads, enabling more than 200 million people to navigate with Google Maps. The milestone is notable since Road Mapper only launched two years ago.

Road Mapper is an invite-only platform where people participate in challenges, drawing roads located in areas with a large population yet have a significant amount of road network missing from Google Maps. Users draw road geometry using satellite images. The drawings then go through a review process and, if accepted, will be live on Google Maps in a few days.

Those interested in joining Road Mapper can fill out Google’s online form. Plus, top contributors that have mapped the most roads can now refer up to five contributors via the Road Mapper Referral form.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of Road Mapper for a while,” Google wrote. “Their contributions have made a real difference in people’s lives worldwide.”

Road Mapper works similarly to OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is considered one of the largest crowd-sourced mapping projects with over ten million contributors. However, OSM is open source and accessible by anyone.

In related news, a group called the Overture Maps Foundation recently released its first open map dataset, allowing third-party developers to easily build mapping or navigation products and compete with tech giants Google and Apple. The group was formed by Meta, Microsoft, Amazon and mapping company TomTom.

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