(Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog.)
You've heard it before: Google is interested in partnering with government agencies to include specific types of mapping data in Google Maps and Earth. We've recently been focusing this partnership effort on national governments of developing world countries as well as international organizations active in these countries. We hope to complement the work of Google Map Maker's users, now rapidly mapping many developing world countries, by incorporating the authoritative data - such as political boundaries, aerial imagery and road centerlines - that governments and other public sector organizations are well positioned to provide.
If you belong to or are involved with one of these public sector organizations, our message is simple enough: Hundreds of millions of internet users have turned to Google Maps and Google Earth to better understand and navigate their world. We know that these users expect to find a complete and accurate map, whether they're looking for the location of a store in a major city in Europe or the route to a village in a corner of Africa. And so our goal is to provide accurate mapping data all over the world and present it in the world's most common langauges.
If you find that we don't offer a complete or accurate map of your country or a country where your organization operates, and if you have better data to share, we want to hear from you. Some concrete examples of the benefits of sharing your mapping data:
- Tourism and economic development: high-resolution imagery and vector data exposes your country's diverse landscape to the rest of the world on Google Maps and Google Earth, encourages visitors, and improves our existing data. One popular way users interact with Google services is by posting photos of places they have traveled to so that others can see pictures of interesting places they'd like to visit, such as Machu Picchu in Peru, or the Sphinx in Egypt.
- Trade: high-resolution imagery of modern, urban and commercial areas as well as imagery of natural resources can encourage interest in foreign direct investment. Vector data of populated places, points-of-interest, roads and other important data gives investors valuable information about how to navigate your country. For instance, in Panama, the recent promotion of Panamanian real estate to the international market could be supported by geographical data and visibility to the targeted audience through Google products.
- Emergency services coordination: accurate mapping data like roads and place names is crucial for relief aid work in times of crisis and emergencies, such as natural disasters, and civil and international conflicts. For example, when Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, Google was able to publish data on Google Maps that helped disaster response teams quickly provide aid to the regions that needed it the most.
- Cultural heritage promotion: sometimes place names are in two or three different languages, dialects, or scripts; we can display them in each. Some examples are Belgium and Thailand.
It's also simple to work with us. In some cases, we are able to communicate with you in your local language and we may be able to work under local law when entering into a content license agreement.
If your organization or government agency has high-quality basemap data that you're interested in contributing to Google to improve the coverage and accuracy of geographic information available for your country, contact us and tell us more about your organization and your data. Help us give the world the opportunity to discover and understand your country as well as you do.