Google's take on Wikimapia -- Map Maker gives you the tools to map out your neighbourhoods
Google's local map content leaves a lot to be desired -- topography on Indian towns, villages, and cities, positional data, street-level details and so on aren't exactly easy to come by. Google has thus taken a wiki approach to mapping; especially in the developing countries. The company has launched Map Maker, a Made-in-India product that is targetted at developing countries (57 countries, as of now). As Sanjay Kambala, a software engineer on the project puts it "Users are the local experts, only you know more about the streets that you live in and the hotels you visit, so our core vision behind this product is to use this local expertise to create a comprehensive maps information".
Behind the Scenes: Google Map Maker
Map Maker allows users to essentially take on the role of a cartographer. The software allows you to add points of interest to map overlays -- from neighbourhood information such as restaurants and cinema halls, to details such as your favourite streets and shortcuts; even letting you chart out entire islands. You can also edit areas that have already been added. Map Maker further lets you create and track 'neigborhoods': once created you will be intimated via alerts when changes to your neighbourhood are made by other users -- allowing you to track these changes, or to moderate them.