This week, Internet giant Google Inc. announced its first mapping competition for India, Mapathon 2013. With this, it aims to generate hype around its Map Maker project, which allows users to edit and contribute to Google Maps in real time, and expand its maps of India.

The contest, Google announced, aims at creating “the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps of India”.

It will be held between February 12 and March 25, and is open to mapping enthusiasts across the country.

Built by users

Speaking to presspersons, Jayanth Mysore, product manager, Google India, said that only a third of India had been mapped. Unlike other countries where Google had its vans or staff go around localities to build a more competitive product, here, its maps were completely user-built.

Map Maker was the first step towards creating an interface where users can crowdsource their wisdom on to a map.

Handy tool

Mapping enthusiast Karthik Babu, who works as a sales executive, spoke to the media about his passion for contributing to maps. He said: “Maps are important as they provide information that can be accessed by all. I like the fact that I can make a difference to someone’s life by mapping simple things like a hospital, dispensary or school.”

He explained how he carries around a GPS device, makes note of the coordinates and sends himself an email to remind him to plot a particular landmark or a road.

“I go back home in the evening and start making the edits one by one. I feel a great sense of fulfilment in being able to contribute to this project.”

And what’s in it for mappers? The company announced that the top 1,000 mappers in the Mapathon stand a chance to win Android tablets, smartphones, gift vouchers and Google merchandise.

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