Remember that incident of a giant Android robot peeing on an Apple on Google Maps? That and many other related incidents have led to Google temporarily halting access to its Map Maker tool by users around the world. The move, though temporary, is expected to last until Google has figured out a way to weed spam and moderate well all edits and reviews being made.
As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. The most recent incident was particularly troubling and unfortunate – a strong user in our community chose to go and create a large scale prank on the Map. As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe, till we figured out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents.
Google has been manually reviewing submissions on Map Maker after the Rawalpindi, Pakistan incident but admits that has resulted in a huge backlog hence the decision to shut down the service altogether instead of letting genuine users do a lot of hardwork in adding and editing locations only to be held in a long queue pending review and approval.
Google introduced Map Maker back in 2011 as a way to let local users who are more familiar with their vicinity make edits to Google Maps in order to improve the accuracy of the information available.