More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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I read a mind expanding article last night that made me think about the extreme tunnel vision I have when I look at Google maps. I am so focused on Google+ Local that I don't even really see the underlying map data or think about how it was created. I'm always just researching business listing problems, trying to solve data cluster puzzles, searching for violations or other reasons for ranking drops.

I only see NAP, map markers and business data. Maybe you are that way too. After all, this is where we focus our attention all day long.

Maybe, like me, you never stop to think with wonder about the Google base map and how amazingly complex it must be for Google's to organize all the world's information on a map.

After reading this article I have new respect for Google maps and am kind of in awe really.

How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic

An exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world's best accurate maps.

Behind every Google Map, there is a much more complex map that's the key to your queries but hidden from your view. The deep map contains the logic of places: their no-left-turns and freeway on-ramps, speed limits and traffic conditions...

Google showed me the internal map and demonstrated how it was built. It's the first time the company has let anyone watch how the project it calls GT, or "Ground Truth," actually works.

The company opened up at a key moment in its evolution. The company began as an online search company that made money almost exclusively from selling ads based on what you were querying for. But then the mobile world exploded. Where you're searching has become almost important as what you're searching. Google responded by creating an operating system, brand, and ecosystem in Android that has become the only significant rival to Apple's iOS.

And for good reason. If Google's mission is to organize all the world's information, the most important challenge -- far larger than indexing the web -- is to take the world's physical information and make it accessible and useful...

Google is locked in a battle with the world's largest company, Apple, about who will control the future of mobile phones... How the two operating systems incorporate geo data and present it to users could become a key battleground in the phone wars.

After reading that, don't you find it amazing to think about everything else that goes into building accurate maps? I used to think of maps data as boring, but for some reason this article just opened my eyes a little.

What do YOU think?

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