Google’s latest changes to My Maps allows you to collaborate on personal maps with others in much the same way you can share a Google Document or Spreadsheet.
You can also allow anyone to edit a map.
Group editing is great for maps that are too hard for one person to scale. Before this release, I started maps of free Wi-Fi and restaurants with outdoor dining. Now I can invite my friends and the public to help build out the maps. Although some of these data is captured by vertical players such as JiWire and Skyhook, the integration with Google’s Local Search brings it to a much wider audience.
Google could use the same platform to have users build out vertical directories to augment data from providers like InfoUSA by actively soliciting users to contribute places on specific topics. This is already happening on an ad hoc basis as users follow their passions and create maps.
We’ve seen news organizations use My Maps to cover stories such as the California wildfires. They could open that up to a collaborative process with their readers.