Rude Google doodlers ruin Maps for the rest
When an image appeared on Google maps of an Android robot urinating on an Apple logo it forced Google to temporarily suspend its map editor – a move that has royally peeved the mapping community.
Pranksters used the Map Maker editing tool to wreak havoc willy-nilly, slipping in the obscene image as a fake park in an area near the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. Further east, another act of vandalism was discovered with a user scrawling “Google’s review policy is crap” across the landscape.
How did they get away with it?
Google created Map Maker as a tool for crowdsourcing edits to roads, paths and terrain that would otherwise would have been blank. It relies on public users to fill in data to rural or remote places with edits going through an approval process. After a number of approved edits, these users would become trusted members of the community with their changes no longer requiring a look over. It was one of these “strong users” who was responsible for the incident.
This isn’t the first case of malicious map editing on Google with other cases seeing false exits on motorways and the White House displaying Edward Snowden (or, Edward’s Snow Den) located within.
Google has been forced to apologise over the cartography cock-up and admit its approval system was flawed.
To the disappointment of Apple haters, the images have been removed from the system but the consequence of this geeky toilet humour has resulted in Google temporarily shutting down the service. Its developers are trying to figure out a way to prevent further vandalism while not being bogged down by a mountain of edit requests to check.
For mappers with an urge to make edits while Google’s Map Maker is offline they can get their fix using OpenStreetMap – a huge crowd-sourced mapping project. Just behave.