Building Better Maps in Russia and Hong Kong

When you travel or look at a map of your city, you want it to be as accurate as possible. We do too. That’s why we’re launching our Ground Truth initiative in Hong Kong and parts of Russia (including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and large areas in the west of the country), so we can build a better map that helps you find what you need and get to where you’re going, quickly and easily. These new, updated maps for Russia and Hong Kong will automatically become part of your maps using our JavaScript, Android, and iOS APIs. Ground Truth enables us to update a country’s map at a faster pace to provide you with an up-to-date map that mirrors the real world as closely as possible. Ground Truth also makes it possible for you to contribute your local knowledge to the map and report any issues you find through the Report a Problem tool, so together we can build a better map.

The updated maps in Russia and Hong Kong now provide detailed walking paths in many well-known parks and landmarks, making navigating easier especially in pedestrian-friendly Hong Kong. For example, we’ve added walking paths to Victoria Park - you can now zig zag across the park as you please.

Russia is rather large, so many people prefer to travel by car. Today’s update is good news for drivers as well, as we’ve made big improvements to our road network. We’ve updated street names, turn restrictions and one-way streets as well as completely new maps in more than 50 towns across Russia. So the next time you drive to the city center for shopping, try out the Google Maps app for Android and iPhone to get there.

If you’d rather adventure by sea, we’ve also added ferry routes, down to the specific harbor of departure. For example, in the updated map of Hong Kong’s Central and Western District below you can see the ferry routes as well as nearby points of interests and transportation options.

The updated map also indicates places of interest more clearly, such as hospitals, national parks, and universities. For example, Moscow State University, Russia’s oldest and largest university, now has more detail with cleaner walking paths, named roads, and labels for different department buildings.

Whether you’re gazing at the awe-inspiring spirals of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow or strolling through the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Hong Kong, Google Maps is here to help you see, explore, and discover the world!

To learn more about Ground Truth, check out this presentation from Google I/O 2013:

Posted by Kirill Levin, Google Maps Software Engineer