Google announced plans to re-open its Maps edit tools next month, but this time they will include some key changes. The tech giant is taking a different approach to moderating edits by inviting select mappers throughout the world to become regional leads. All edits will be reviewed by automated systems and regional leads.

Google Maps edit tools

Google wants more community moderation for Maps

The changes likely mean some edits will take longer to complete, but Google hopes enlisting the help of a small group of editors will help. Google Map Maker’s Pavithra Kanakarajan explained the reason behind the change: every time they observed someone attempting to vandalize the map, many editors were quick to remove the negative features. The editors showed real ownership for regional maps. Google has reached a conclusion that a select group of well-intentioned editors is the best defense.

Google seeks lead candidates

Google Maps will re-open in phases. The tech giant will send invitations to possible regional lead candidates and then review and select leaders from the candidates just in time to open up Map Maker. Kanakarajan added in a blog post, “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.”

Google initially halted the Maps editing tool in May after a rash of pranks caught media attention. One notable prank involved a drawing of the Android robot relieving itself on the Apple logo. The incident prompted Google to turn off user moderation. The company later suspended the Map Maker program after it started reviewing edits and creating a backlog. Kanakarajan added that users previously requested for Map Maker to get more moderation from the community, so this change should come as good news to those users.