One thing I love about the folks over at Google (specifically the folks on the Google Earth team) is that they will listen to what you have to say and let you know what they think. Dave Barth over at Google LatLong has posted a response to the quips and jabs his team received when it was discovered that the country of Georgia had not been mapped for Google Maps and Google Earth. It turns out there was no conspiracy, it was simply a matter of not wanting to turn out a bad product. Apparently, the Google Earth team wasn’t happy with the available data sets so they decided to wait until they had quality material for us. Thanks Dave and Steve for not giving us anything less than the best. Here is the post in it’s entirety:
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 4:49 PM
The recent conflict in Georgia has raised some questions about how Google Maps has handled mapping in that part of the world. The most obvious question is, why doesn’t Google Maps show any cities or roads for Georgia, or its neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan? The answer is we never launched coverage in those countries because we simply weren’t satisfied with the map data we had available. We’re constantly searching for the best map data we can find, and sometimes will delay launching coverage in a country if we think we can get more comprehensive data. Some of our customers have asked if we removed map data from any of these countries in response to the recent hostilities in that region and I can assure you that is not the case. Data for these countries were never on Google Maps in the first place.
But this has generated a lot of feedback that we are listening to and learning from. We’re hearing from our users that they would rather see even very basic coverage of a country than see nothing at all. That certainly makes sense, and so we have started preparing data for the handful of countries that are still blank on Google Maps. Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, as well as other significant regions of the world will benefit from this effort.
In the meantime, much of this data, including cities in Georgia and other surrounding countries, can be found in Google Earth.
The upside of all this is that we raised our voices and we were heard. Now the folks in Mountain View are burning the midnight oil to bring us some much needed data so that we can get on with the task of helping the folks in Georgia.