Tag Archives: Google Maps

Missing Georgia data sets explained by Google Maps/Earth team

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:

Where is Georgia on Google Maps?

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.

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Google never posted map data for Georgia. Will they?

It has now been confirmed by a number of folks at Google that they never published the map data for Georgia.  I sincerely appreciate all of you taking the time to tap your sources and clarify this issue.  Coming on the heels of yesterdays Gmail outage I think suspicions were heightened given the current cyber attacks on Georgia’s networks.

This heightened awareness, however, has brought up a new issue – there is no map data for Georgia.  If I am planning an emergency response and using Google Earth to do so (something I did many times in the past as Google Earth is an excellent tool for doing just that) how am I going to plan my response?  I know that right now more than a few aid workers in offices around the world are working like mad to map points of interest within Georgia and they are having to do it blind.  No roads, cities, borders, etc make it nearly impossible to accurately map an organization’s response.

I am hopeful that the good folks on the Google Earth team in Mountain View will gather their volunteer team together and help us out with that as soon as possible.  With 100,000 displaced folks now moving out of and around the country it is going to be harder than ever to track their movements.

ReliefWeb.int is currently posting maps from the BBC, NY Times and the LA Times.  Are we back to running down to Barnes and Noble and buying up all the folding maps we can find?  I haven’t had time to search online so someone please point me in the right direction.

Lastly, I sincerely apologize for assuming that there was data was there to begin with, something which I should have done at the beginning of this piece.

Why have all the roads and cities in Georgia disappeared from Google Maps and Google Earth?

Someone named pluke over at Reddit just made the very astute observation that all roads and cities in the country of Georgia have disappeared from Google Maps.  When I fire up Google Earth, sure enough, there are no roads and no cities.  The same is true for Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Let the wild speculation begin.

Conflict in Georgia finally mapped

Stefan Geens over at OgleEarth.com has the scoop on an effort by Catholicgauze to map the war between Russia and Georgia.  It was only a matter of time before the Google Earth community started churning out the KMZ files.  It is a bit rough but I am sure in the next few days we’ll begin to see refined versions of both Google Earth and Google Maps projects popping up left and right.

Thanks to Catholicgauze for making this available.