Today I read about a new feature of Google Maps called Google MapMaker. I originally read about it here on the Transportation Nation website. This feature allows people to add aspects of their local area that are missing from the existing Google Map. According to the into video for this feature, you know your neighborhood better than anyone else. This is true. Google is using the power of crowdsourcing (crowd + outsourcing) to build and create a more effective product for everyone. They retain control because they will make the final approval on all the changes.
After looking at the Tucson portion, I intended to add portions of bike paths that my group and I had created for our UA Campus Bike Geovisualization. However, it appears as if other people have already added most of these routes! They are currently pending approval by the Google team.
I am thrilled to see Google moving into this new phase of openness on Google Maps. I can see these crowd sourced maps becoming very robust and filled with tons of useful localized information.
The future is truly here.