Google is retiring its Map Maker offering in March 2017, instead integrating the feature to contribute changes to Google Maps directly within the desktops and mobile version of Maps. This will include the ability to add a place, edit info about the place, share more details about the place, moderate edits and view status of edits.
Additionally, the company has launched a Local Guides program, where users can earn points, unlock rewards for submitting edits and other information, and get early access to new Google Map features. Combined, both these features replace pretty much all of Map Maker’s functionality, while getting rid of the standalone product. However, certain functionality, like the ability to add roads, was unique to Map Maker, and it’s not clear if the company plans to integrate it again.
Map Maker has been around since 2008, allowing users to contribute data to Google Maps. The platform has shown signs of aging – it was suspended in May last year following pranks and vandalism, like images of the Android mascot urinating on Apple’s logo. At the time, 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.
Earlier in 2013, Google had also 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 encouraged Indians to add information to maps. Survey of India said that the Mapathon was likely to jeopardize India’s national security interests and violated the national map policy, as per which the responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database lies with the Survey of India.