Mapping: Not Just For Geographers Anymore

Citizen volunteers are democratizing the field of online mapping, spreading out to document neighborhoods and streets worldwide.
November 17, 2009, 12pm PST | Tim Halbur
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Average citizens have been contributing data to online maps for years, but they are now taking a more active role - creating and editing underlying maps of streets, rivers, and landscape features, revising locations of buildings and major landmarks, and adding myriad local details. Mapping platforms find many of the same benefits and challenges as collective editing sites like Wikipedia. Ups and downs aside, people who take to the streets with GPS in hand are changing the way mapping companies do business: Google is dropping its corporate map providers and relying on volunteers, who produce more complete maps than the professionals.

Thanks to Rebecca Sanborn Stone

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Published on Monday, November 16, 2009 in New York Times
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