Google Maps Adds Philippine Roads

10:22 pm PHT

Last month, Yuga is lamenting the lack of street maps of the Philippines in Google Maps. Well, Google announced via their LatLong blog that they have added street maps for 54 countries including the Philippines. Previously, only Thailand and Singapore had street-level maps in Google Maps in Southeast Asia. Well, excited I checked out Metro Manila in Google Maps and came out extremely disappointed. See the screenshot below.

 Screenshot of Google Maps showing the “street maps” of Metro Manila.

For one thing, the data is only at the highway or major-road level. No street-level maps. Second, the data is inaccurate and outdated. For example, Lawton Avenue in the Bonifacio Global City area is no longer existing (though it still exists in the AFP area), and all the shapes of the roads are incorrect (look at North and East Avenues, which are supposed to be perpendicular).

With this update, Google is actually just playing catch-up to Yahoo! and Microsoft who have had this level of road data for the Philippines. Though the data for the Philippines is better than Yahoo!’s pitiful maps, Google’s data is exactly the same as Microsoft’s Live Maps (and MapQuest, too). See screenshots below.

 Screenshot of Yahoo! Maps and Microsoft Live Maps showing the major roads of Metro Manila.

I said way, way before that “one of my biggest pet peeves is inaccurate maps.” I didn’t mention Yahoo!’s and Microsoft’s road maps of the Philippines because they’re grossly inaccurate. I was hoping that Google neglected to include the Philippines because they’re waiting to get more accurate data. Well, if they’re going to put up roads maps of this inferior quality anyway, why didn’t they do it before now? Anyway, Google actually acknowledges this lack of quality in their LatLong blog post:

We have better detail for some countries than others, but this is just the beginning. In coming months, we’ll be working tirelessly to add more detail to the existing countries in Google Maps, and we’ll also be adding new countries to the list.

I hope Google stays true to that promise because I expected much from them.

P.S. If you’re looking for a good online and searchable street maps of the Philippines, nothing I’ve seen comes close to mapCentral in terms of detail, but their user interface leaves a whole lot to be desired. For hard copy, the best one is Citiatlas. And if you want to contribute to a collection of free map data, there’s OpenStreetMap (OSM), which I have been contributing to.

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