Category Archives: Better world

Local Guide ‎Best Practice: Get rid of legal names

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

Google Maps has been around much longer than there have been local guides, so I think it safe to assume that most of the points of interest (POI) did not appear on the map because a local guide added it. My best guess is that there has been some kind of original import to populate the map with POIs. And it would then make sense that, for a lot of countries, this was an import of databases coming from official government or chamber of commerce listings.

That would explain the fact that so many businesses are listed on the map with a name that looks like it comes from such a database. One clue pointing in this direction is the addition of legal terms as part of the business name: ‘LLC’ in English, ‘GmbH’ in German, etc. The format of the name can be another telltale sign, which is something you typically Continue reading

Local Guide ‎Best Practice: Attempts to add bus stop or train station

Picture by AndyLeungHK on Pixabay

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

Did you ever try to add a bus stop to Google Maps? Or suggest an edit to an existing train station? If so, here is my prediction for what happened to your submission: it was ‘Pending’ for a while, and then later on was labeled ‘Not applied’. Correct, isn’t it? Well, in fact that wasn’t very hard to predict, as local guides are simply not allowed to Continue reading

Local Guide Best Practice: The best order for suggesting edits

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

Sometimes you come across a point of interest (POI) where more than one data point is either incorrect or missing: no telephone number, incorrectly spelled company name, no website, pin located incorrectly, etc. As I already explained in a previous post, you should not submit all changes all at once, as this will certainly increase the chance of running into a ‘not applied’: if one of the edits is not accepted, your entire contribution will be marked as the notorious ‘not applied’ (look around a bit on this forum to find out how much frustration this is causing).

But then another question can be raised: does it matter in which order to suggest the edits? My experience (as mentioned in the disclaimer at the bottom: pure speculation, I have no hard evidence for any of this) suggests: yes, it does. Two different factors might be at play here. The first is Continue reading

Local Guide Best Practice: Improve your reputation

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

By submitting suggestions for edits, you build up a reputation in terms of certain types of edits and/or certain regions or countries. This is very important for the way the algorithms evaluating the suggested edits are taking your reputation into account: if your ‘trust level’ is high for specific factors, your suggestions will more easily be approved.

Let me illustrate this with some specific examples. When I came across a chain of discount supermarkets that is operational is several countries, and noticed that quite a few of them had an incorrect category (either ‘grocery store’ or ‘supermarket’ in general) I obviously had the unstoppable urge to Continue reading

Local Guide Best Practice: Create on mobile / Complete on desktop

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

There are basically two different ways of adding/editing information on Google Maps: in the mobile app on your phone or in the browser on your computer (a.k.a the desktop version – although it’s frequently used on laptops too). Both have their pros and cons, but in one particular case I find it most convenient to use a combination of the two.

Picture by Skitterphoto on Pixabay – so: not my gear

Adding a new place is typically done in the mobile app, when you are walking around in a city or area and come across a point of interest (POI) that is not yet showing up on the map. And although technically you can perfectly Continue reading

Local Guide Best Practice: Find the right category

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

A slight feeling of embarrassment originally kept me from publishing this tip, as it is based on my own experience as a beginning local guide, and as I felt really silly when I figured out what the solution was. But then I noticed on the Connect forum that there were several occasions where a local guide posted that (s)he was facing exactly the same problem. So I will confess to it after all.

When you add a new point of interest, one of the mandatory fields is ‘category’. You can’t submit the information unless you add something in that field. And obviously you want to add the best fitting category. But the problem seems to be that the list you get presented to choose from is quite short and only contains some general categories (Restaurant, School, Bank, etc). Some very basic business categories like ‘Hair salon’ or ‘Accountant’ are simply not listed!

This was an easy one – and in the “default” list: bank

If you’re at this point, you have made the invalid assumption – as I had initially done – that the categories in that list are the only ones you can choose from. They are not. Not by far. You should really only look at them as a kind of frequently used categories that are shown as examples. In reality you can access almost 4.000 different categories in English (or 3.000 in most other languages). The only thing you need to do is start typing the name of what you are looking for. In the hair salon example, typing ‘hair’ will certainly show you the category you are looking for. Yes, it is that easy.

The original article can be found here


Disclaimer: the practices described here as best practice are my personal interpretation, and I don’t claim any level of official endorsement.

Local Guide Best Practice: Filtering ‘Check the facts’

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

For a lot of people, this tip will be of little value, as they have figured it out for themselves, but to some it still might be new: when using the mobile version of ‘Check the facts’ you can filter the type of facts you get presented for checking.

At the top of the screen, there are 2 lines with bullets (or icons if you prefer that term) – the top one represents the types of points of interest (food-related, culture-related, etc.), the bottom one represents the type of facts that Continue reading

Local Guide Best Practice: Correcting errors you accidentally made

[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect]

Every piece of information you ever added to Google maps and every edit you ever suggested was 100% perfectly accurate, right? Hang on: some of them were not? You sometimes make MISTAKES? Of course you do – and I will readily admit: so do I. We’re all human, and that inevitably means we sometimes make mistakes.

As conscientious local guide you of course don’t make those mistakes on purpose. They rather slip in by accident, but you only notice them once you have submitted the information. And then it sinks in: “OMG, I have made Google maps worse, by adding false information!” (especially if it is a suggested edit that was approved within seconds – I still get a bit of that awkward taste in my throat when I recall the first time it happened to me).

So: what to do to undo your wrongdoing? First and foremost:  Continue reading