Google has announced its first ever Mapping competition, Mapathon 2013 in India. The competition, which starts on 12 February and goes on till 25 March 2013, involves the task of creating better maps for Google. The Mapathon is open to everyone living in India, and participants are required to add their knowledge of local places through Google's Map Maker, a web based tool for improving maps, which was conceptualized in India more than 4 years ago. Google says that the competition is a way of crowdsourcing to get the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps of the country.
Google Map Maker allows users to add more detail to Google Maps through a few clicks. Users can select a specific area on Google Maps and add new information, including adding and editing places, based on their own local knowledge or by referencing Google Maps satellite imagery. They can then can save and submit their inputs and after verification of the changes, the new information is added to Google Maps.
Highlighting the USP of Google Map Maker, Jayanth Mysore, Product Manager, Google India said, "It has always been our endeavour at Google to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. One way we hope to achieve this is by mapping the world and what better way to do this than by asking users to map their neighbourhood. Google aims to provide better maps for India by building better maps for the users, by the users. What started off as an initiative by a few Google engineers is now used across the world and today, citizens across India can participate in this great project through Mapathon 2013."
Google has opened up registrations for the Mapathon, and is incentivising the top 1,000 mappers by offering rewards including Android tablets, smartphones, gift vouchers and Google merchandise. Google had earlier conducted a similar Mapathon with the World Bank in South Sudan in 2011.