Google has suspended its Map Maker tool which allows users to edit and contribute to Google Maps following pranks and vandalism. Earlier in April, Google Maps saw images of the Android mascot urinating on Apple’s logo.
Other incidences included ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden placed in the White House, via a new business called Edward’s Snow Den. Google had issued a statement to the Washington Post apologizing for the incidents saying “sorry for this inappropriate user-created content; we’re working to remove it quickly”.
In a post on Google Groups, Map Maker team member Pavithra Kanakarajan said that the service was facing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. “As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe,” she said in the post. Kanakarajan also added that currently all pending edits were going through a manual review process and said that the situation is temporary. “While this is a very difficult, short term decision, we think this will help us get to a better state faster.” she added.
Google Map Maker relies on a system of trusted community-based moderation, auto-approvals and Google reviewers for any changes to be made on Google Maps.
Earlier in 2013, Google had run into trouble with the Survey of India, the official survey and mapping organization in India, and it filed a complaint with the Delhi Police against Google for hosting its Mapathon contest, which encourages Indians to add information to maps. Survey of India said that the Mapathon is likely to jeopardize India’s national security interests and violates the national map policy, as per which the responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database lies with the Survey of India.