The trick behind free Google Maps…why would it be better to replace it?

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The maps drawn by Google are not flawless, and to appear in a complete picture, the digital giant counts homes, streets, companies, peaks and seabeds around the world, and other locations, using high technologies.

In this article published by the French newspaper “La Croix”, writer Azelez Klaki stated that with the launch of Google Maps in February 2005 and then Google Earth in June of the same year, the popularity of mapping increased. And I took steps forward. In turn, said a specialist in spatial intelligence Jean-Philippe Moreso, “Google came out of nowhere and reversed the existing balances.”

In 2005, Google released Google Maps and Google Earth, which is a three-dimensional globe. Although the Earth’s views taken from aerial photos and satellites are open to the general public at present, they were previously intended for institutions, especially military, intelligence services, and scientists.

So, the company – which acquires its satellite images from space imaging companies and its aerial photos from national cartographic institutes – has become a producer of images.

Google Cars’ self-driving cars strapped to cameras are now roaming streets worldwide, although the company’s plans are not just limited to the streets.

The Mountain View giant – which claims to map 98% of what is on the ground – is trying to get acquainted with all the details by providing the Google Earth Pro application.

Google is trying to collect threads and other dimensions for maps it can rely on if it needs to increase the percentage of users. In this context, Google encourages merchants to offer a virtual tour of their organization to create a climate of trust and attract customers.

More services

The author stated that the tools of “Google Earth, Google Street View” attract the most curious people, while Google Maps provides practical information.

For example, a set of information can be found on the same page by reference to various sources such as store and service locations and timetables, prices, routes, travel time, and rush hour.

Maps become an extension of the search engine, especially for companies that pay to appear on the map. For its part, Google encourages providing more information and taking a virtual tour that guides customers to the storefront and the workplace.

It is worth noting that Google Maps tools have become pocket guides that open Versailles and Japanese restaurants’ doors, dealing a severe blow to competing services such as road planners, practical guides, and tour guides.

Although the “all-in-one” approach aims to make Google Maps a must, it makes users more dependent on American products.

wikipedia Maps
“Wikipedia Maps” spokesperson: Google Maps has been offering free services for many years, devastating competitors (Getty Images)

The first doses of cocaine

In 2018, Google charged third-party websites for the use of their maps. For his part, a spokesman for “Wikipedia Maps” explains that Google Maps has been providing free services for many years, which has led to the destruction of competitors and eliminating the possibility of new competitors emerging.

In this regard, Natalie Martial Praz, a law professor at the University of Paris Descartes, pointed out that “there are questions raised about competition law. Google is tightening its screws on its competitors, just as it did when buying the Waze application.”

More data

Google Maps is used by more than a billion users every month. The more maps are used, the more the company will earn. For its part, Google realizes how to make its projects attractive and engage map users in work by introducing a street view camera lending program to help them share 360-degree scenes in Google Maps of the wonderful places that are being discovered.

User information is a challenge

The user should be aware of the data he provides, such as his address, place of work, trips, and means of protecting them, such as setting standards and requesting erasure of the data he has collected.

For example, Google Street View should recognize faces and license plates that are generally blurred.

Nonetheless, it is a matter of concern to discover that the mayor of the French region of de France used “Google Earth” to locate unauthorized swimming pools and the publication of reports by Google on the movements of map users in more than 130 countries.

Google maps cars
Google’s self-driving cars strapped to cameras roam the streets (Getty Images)

Given rendering

The author stated that maps are not neutral, and Google Maps is not an exception to the rule. However, given the billions of followers and highly simulated photos, Google’s view of the world is likely to prevail compared to others.

What interest?

Google Maps’ fields of interest have an orange background. For example, the design agency Vraiment Vraiment stated to Medium that the Seine’s Parisian platforms are not showing up as an area of ​​interest.

Geometry is a variable boundary

The representation of boundaries raises many questions. Therefore, the disputed boundaries are drawn in a dashed gray line shown by the Google Maps Help Center pages.

In this regard, said an expert in geopolitics Jan Chrysov Victor, “Google puts the market at the forefront of cartographic and geopolitical reality.”

Pixels on sensitive sites

The Google Maps application has been installed on many cars, and the car’s operating system Android Auto has appeared on many screens, and the Renault-Nissan alliance will work to integrate it into its cars this year.

Commercial cities only?

For the Californian company, this is a new opportunity to promote companies through phones and screens embedded in cars’ glass and windshields. While walking in the city, you can see shops selling sandwiches and clothes with prices, notifications, and even the “affinity rate” developed by various Google tools activities. For its part, the design agency Vraiment Vraiment warns of the risk of “expropriating what constitutes the city’s essence”.

There are many alternatives to Google Maps that can be relied upon according to specialization, including:

OpenStreetmap.org is a global map supported by thousands of volunteers, and its data is publicly available.

The National Institute of Geographic Information and Forestry portal – via the GeoPortal website – provides many basic maps such as aerial photos, cadastral plans and maps, as well as demographic, economic, and tourism data.

OpenStreetMap is a tool for creating special maps based on OpenStreetMap backgrounds.

It cannot be relied upon as a sole source

Using a simple Google Maps trick, German artist Simon Vikart caused a huge traffic jam in the German capital Berlin, according to Google Maps, although he was walking on his feet with a cart full of smartphones.

For its part, Google Maps does not clearly show many sites in France, such as the Flamanville nuclear power plant, Clerveau prison, Briggson Castle, the buildings of the Public Security Directorate.

“The Google Earth program receives satellite images from companies that provide intelligence services,” the author quoted a map expert, Morrison, as saying.

For example, the companies “Maxar” and “Airbus” – which provide Google with satellite images – provide the images to NATO and the US military.

On the other hand, Google Earth images could clarify some of the press investigations. “These tools enabled the discovery of illegal deforestation sites in the Amazon and polluted factory discharges into the water,” says journalist Geoffrey Livolsy.

Useful for future inventions

Accurate mapping is a critical complement to the sensors of autonomous vehicles. On this matter, Moreso returns with the expectation that mapping will be the autonomous car’s cornerstone.

Source: Lacroix

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