The Atlantic Looks at How Google Builds Maps

The Atlantic – How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything

The office where Google has been building the best representation of the world is not a remarkable place. It has all the free food, ping pong, and Google Maps-inspired Christoph Niemann cartoons that you’d expect, but it’s still a low-slung office building just off the 101 in Mountain View in the burbs.

I figured they had offices, but I’ve clearly underestimated the ping pong factor. Time to get Paul to buy some ping pong tables for the offices.

The big takeaway (if you don’t like reading liberal leaning publications) is that humans are still critical to getting these maps accurate, even with the computing power of Google. I can’t imagine a more depressing job than shifting these roads around, but someone has to do it and I’m glad they do.


I’m sure the ping pong makes it all worth while.

  • Mike

    “(Rumor has it many of these people work in the Bangalore office, out of which Gupta was promoted.)” hmmm….wonder if the guys that do the real work get Ping Pong…

    • James Fee

      They never addressed it in the article. I did find that interesting as clearly you can’t have humans touching maps all day in the bay area. The costs are just too high.

  • Andrew Zolnai

    … must be a Left Coast thing, Lucas managed same for Star Wars

  • Laura

    I used to shift roads around and indeed, it is soul-sucking work. I found it kind of odd that the writer seems to be under the impression that Google is the only one mapping like this.