Guideline to Collaborative Open Street Map and Google Map

The first time I knew about open street map was around September this year, when I had no idea about Cork, and I was browsing around UCCDH website, tried to figure out where the classroom located. Then it points out a page on, which contains far more detailed information about each building on UCC main campus, absolutely helpful.

Last month, I tried editing in Open Street Map, and added a few buildings both near UCC campus and in Shanghai, China. At first it’s only visible in the history panel to the editors. The wiki page of open street map shows that GPS data is highly recommended. I am used to keep tracking my location while traveling, but not with a GPS device, so it’s impossible to upload that type of data.

After one month, I checked the locations I worked on. One near UCC and several building at Shanghai University   were successful updated to the public version, but another one in west Cork just disappeared with no clue. Anyway, this is only the first step, a nice try.


In the meantime, Google map has basic shapes of buildings, but a lot of them don’t have names. The editing work in Open Street Map inspires me to contribute a little effort to google map. There is an additional service especially designed for editing, called Google Map Marker, but it will be retired in March 2017 soon, and all features will be combined with Google Map. That sounds nice. From my experience, when I use it to find a place and navigate, although there is an option to edit, I usually don’t use that function. It’s an interesting situation. As a local, I don’t need a map, then there is no chance to get started with map contribution work. But as a stranger to a new place, I won’t have such rich knowledge in marking local buildings and areas.

For the aim of being more open, I joined Google local guide community and started to contribute to it. This system encourages members to add reviews, upload photos, answer questions and of course add and edit places. All those behaviors add points to member’s account, like experience point(EXP) in RPG games. Look at the level bar, 5 more points needed and then I will level up!  It’s like playing a game in real life.

Another thing about this plan in more complicated. User is asked to allow Google collect GPS data even in the background of mobile device. This is a hard decision to make, because usually people only want to share knowledge, not privacy.

How to add a location in Google Map:

  1. Right click a building, select “Report a missing point”.
  2. Fill in the name, find a category, add a primary phone number and website address.
  3. Wait for email notification and hopefully it will show up in Google Map and Google Earth after 24 hours.