How to get your information into Google Maps (1)

Google is adding more and more localized information to Google Maps. They are adding information about local businesses, restaurants, hotels, public transport and even live traffic information (at this moment only available for the US).

What the sources are for the information Google displays on the maps isn’t very clear to a lot of people.

At last week’s Geo Developer day I also discovered not a lot of people know how they can control their own information on the maps by using the Google Local Business center.

In this series of posts I’ll write about the sources Google uses and ways how to add or edit your own information.

First let’s start with an introduction.

What is Google Maps?

When people are talking about Google Maps, they can be talking about two different kind of things. The first one is the website maps.google.com. The second one are the maps you can add to your own website with the use of the Google Maps API. In this series I’m talking about the first one.

Google Maps can be used to view satellite images of all around the world. For some countries there’s detailed map information available (eg. streetnames) and for others there’s even more information available about local businesses and other local information.

Google Maps can be used in these countries as a local search engine, but also as a route planner. Questions as: “How to get from address a to address b?”, “Where’s the nearest Mexican restaurant?”, “What web development companies are there in this city?”, and even more can be answered by using Google Maps.

Where is Google Maps available?

Google is rapidly expanding the number of countries where localized information is available. At this moment full functionality is available in: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the United States. Japan has almost full functionality (there are no driving directions in the Japanese Maps). For other countries there’s map data available or only satellite imagery. See the Maps help, for more information about the availability of data.

Where does Google gets the data from?

This is the main question I want to answer in this series. I don’t think my answer(s) will be complete as Google isn’t very open about their sources. But I hope the information in upcoming articles will help people and companies to understand how they can control or at least influence the data that is shown on the map.

Here’s a list of topics I’m gonna write about. Each topic corresponds with a source for the data in Google Maps.

  1. Webcrawler
  2. Local data suppliers
  3. Local Business Center
  4. Google Adwords
  5. KML sitemap User generated data
  6. Coupons

There will be links to the separate articles as the series grows. This will happen in the next few days.

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