Google will once again allow outside contributors to edit features on Google Maps in the near future with the reopening of its Google Map Maker service. The company will open the service on a limited basis sometime in early August, in order to find reliable community members that can take on some of the reviews of user-generated map edits.
Google decided to temporarily suspend Map Maker in May after it was found that someone had published the Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo in Google Maps. Google's Pavithra Kanakarajan says that the company's solution to their review process was to find and include community members to help with the moderation process:
The reason for this change is that every time we observed someone attempting to vandalize the map, many of you acted quickly to remove the offending feature and demonstrated real ownership for maps within your region. We have come to the conclusion that of all the defenses available to keeping our maps clean, the interest of a community of well-intentioned users, is among the most reliable and fast.
The first phase of the Map Maker opening will be to help select community members that can serve as "Regional Leads" to help in the review process. Google will review the candidates and select the ones they wish to work with before Map Maker is reopened to the general public. Once that happens, Kanakarajan says that the review process for map changes may take longer than they have in the past:
Since edits will be reviewed by other users in your community, edits may take more time to get moderated. We ask that you be patient with your fellow mappers. We fully intend to grow the number of users who will be able to moderate in each country to address this issue over time.