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Google reopens Map Maker with new safeguards to block controversial edits

Google on Tuesday reopened Map Maker access in 45 more countries, including the U.S., with a new moderation system designed to prevent a repeat of the offensive Google Maps edits that forced it to disable the system in May.

The Map Maker tool enables quicker updates of Maps by letting users submit their own additions and corrections. In April, though, the media began calling attention to a series of edits that escaped Google's automatic filters, including an Android logo urinating on an Apple logo.

Under the new scheme, community moderators known as "regional leads" will approve edits in their respective areas. Though people can volunteer for the role, leads are ultimately being chosen by Google based on the quality of past contributions.

Map Maker should return to more countries as further regional leads are selected. In the meantime Google has temporarily disabled the ability to add or edit polygonal geometry, though users can submit edits for other polygon attributes including names.

Apple has a rough equivalent of Map Maker in the form of Maps Connect. That tool, though, is intended strictly for small business owners looking to create or edit Apple Maps listings.