Google turns to users for online maps

Google Incorporated is now providing free tools designed to make it easy for people to share their local geographical knowledge by creating customized maps that can assemble information from a variety of sources. Thousands of hybrid maps are already available on the Web, documenting everything from local housing markets to active volcanoes. Google has simplified the task that typically requires some computer coding skills and is allowing users to create map mashups with just their mouse. The map creators will be given the option to make the content public or keep it private. The Mountain View-based company is hoping the simplicity will generate millions of highly specialized maps that can be stored in its search index.

"This is a big change. Even if we cut loose all our developers, we could never create maps with the same depth and quality as our users can," said Jessica Lee, product manager of Google maps. Google's maps already are a big draw, with 22.2 million U.S. visitors during February, according to the most recent data available from comScore Media Metrix. That ranked Google maps third in its category, trailing AOL's Mapquest (45.1 million visitors) and Yahoo (29.1 million visitors).

View: How to create a map
News source: MSNBC

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Just curious, is it possible to create false locations just as a means to advertise your business? If so, I can see this being abused.

yea, but the (big) difference is that google is a corp and they eventually charge for this. So, all the ppl doing their work for free sounds like a bad idea.
I rather wiki

Galley said,

You can use Map My Run for that.

Well that is a neat web based solution but the google user maps allow to export to google earth which is convenient since my GPS unit already exports data into google earth and I can overlay or correlate routes. This approach is little more flexible I think.