Imagine a wiki-style map program that allows hikers and backpackers from all over the world to map out their favorite trails; or traveling sun worshippers around the globe to pinpoint their picks for best beaches on the planet.
That’s exactly what the new collaboration feature on Google Maps allows you to do. This new addition allows you to, not only personalize the map that you create using the My Maps feature, but also to invite your friends and acquaintances to collaborate on your maps, all adding their own input till the map grows in scope and scale, much like a wiki.
The innovative uses to which Google Maps can be put to were seen in the case of the San Diego Fire Google Map created by a tiny broadcasting station, KPBS which created and updated a map of fire locations and evacuation notices until well after their own station went off air. So thorough was the map and so effective in getting the word out to people on the street about the status of the ravaging wildfires that major newscasters like CNN linked to the KPBS home page, while the official website of the California fires simply embedded the KBPS Map on their own home page! While the San Diego Fire Google Map did not have this new collaboration feature, imagine the potency and effectiveness of the exercise if it did.
Of course, escaping the wrath of Mother Nature isn’t the only thing travelers and other users can do with the new collaborative mapping feature. It’s just as helpful to swap interesting details about your city, or create a place mark for your home town.