Google Wants You To Complete its U.S. Maphttp://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/04/google-maps-us-edit/Now Users Can Help Edit Google Mapshttp://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/04/19/now-users-can-help-edit-google-maps/Google Map Makerhttp://www.google.com/mapmakerRailroad Maps Collectionhttp://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/rrhtml/rrhome.htmlDavid Rumsey Historical Map Collectionhttp://www.davidrumsey.com/In the previous millennium, those folks who wanted a high-quality map of their area might have had to go purchase or borrow an actual physical map. In recent years, online mapping tools and resources have sprouted like mushrooms after a hard rain. With all of that in mind, it is not so surprising that on Tuesday Google announced that it is allowing users to contribute changes to their very popular maps. This tool is called Google Map Maker, and it has already been used in some 183 countries and regions around the world. With this tool, users can add names and descriptions of areas in their community, and they can also add various features such as pedestrian trails, parks, and so on. Google employee Lalitesh Katragadda said that the goal of the project is to make "living and breathing" maps, and that users with full editing privileges and approval will see their updates go live "in minutes". It's an exciting project, and while it does mean that Google is essentially getting free labor for this project by dedicated individuals, it also means that Google will have to keep a close eye on disputed areas from Pismo Beach to Portland, Maine.The first link will take users to a CNET news article that includes commentary from Google employees about the new Google Map Maker tool. The second link will whisk users away to a piece from this Tuesday's Wired "Epicenter" column about this intriguing new initiative and how Google hopes to use this information. The third link leads to piece by Jennifer Valentino-Devries, writing for the Wall Street Journal's "Digits" blog, about this new development on the user-generated data front. The fourth link leads directly to Google Map Maker and visitors should feel free to start contributing to this project. Moving on, the fifth link leads to an old-school collection of wonderful 19th century railroad maps from the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress. The final link leads to the David Rumsey Map Collection homepage, and this will be quite a treat for cartographers, historians, and geographers everywhere.


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