Everyone can laugh at the times when mapping software would send them needlessly down a gravel road or to an overgrown lot. These days, Google Maps is leading the charge to maintain accurate maps. Roads are torn up and put back together every day, but Google Ground Truth works around the clock to keep the pieces together.

It starts with gathering geo data from every authoritative source Google can find, then cross-referencing crowd-sourced data with sources like Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Ground Truth takes information from thousands of sources -- governments, imagery, organizations, individuals -- and makes it into one cohesive map," says Nick Volmar, program manager and Ground Truth Operator. "But the best part of putting together this giant puzzle is how it helps people every day. It can save you time, empower you to get things done, and give you the opportunity to travel and explore without worry."

For more than seven years now, Google's car-mounted cameras have been capturing the minutia and flat-out oddities of the human experience as these autonomous cartographers serve as Ground Truth's eyes on the ground.

"With ground-level images, we can identify one-way roads, pinpoint addresses on the map, and verify street names," says Sophia Lin, product manager for Ground Truth. "This added level of detail gives you better search results, more accurate directions, and smoother turn-by-turn navigation."

Lin says Google Maps has just continued its evolution, as the search engine company has just released six indoor maps created with the help of backpacks fitted with computers, referred to as Cartographers. Using Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), the map-making backpackers can draw out floor plans and record points of interest on Android tablets connected to the computers strapped to their backs.

"As fast as you can walk, you can map with Cartographer," says Lin "So you can create floor plans for a 39-story building, like the San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel, in just a few hours!"

As much detail as Ground Truth receives from satellite imagery and roving cameras, it relies heavily on crowd-sourcing to keep up with the moment-by-moment changes that affect roads and points of interests around the world every hour.

Google Map Maker enables users to stitch together the sagging seams time wears in Google's Street View and satellite imagery. Jacek is one of the countless number of Google users who is active in ensuring Google Maps are accurate. When a national road was rebuilt in Jacek's hometown, the map maker ensured Google Maps would accurately reflect the area's changes.

"My changes were on the map and in navigation within 24 hours," says Jacek. "It was fascinating to me that my edits were able to change the lives of citizens of my city, of my region -- that they're able to navigate on good maps that are connected to reality, instead of old ones that are out of date."

Back at Ground Truth, Volmar says every day starts with reviewing all of the changes around the world. It all takes a combination of "elbow grease" and algorithms, Volmar says, but the best part of the maintaining Google Maps is putting it all together.

"It can save you time, empower you to get things done, and give you the opportunity to travel and explore without worry," says Volmar. "Reaching our 50th Ground Truth country was an important moment for this project, but it's far from the end. As long as the world keeps changing, we'll keep mapping."

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.