What is the Google Maps Engine Public Data Program?

The team at Directions got a very short briefing on Google's Google Maps Engine Pro announcement Monday. I've been digging around to find other bits that were apparently part of the announcement. I saw on TechCrunch that there was an announcement about a new "public data program." I guess it was a "soft launch" for this program; we didn't hear about it in our briefing.

I found the FAQ (undated) and share these key points about the Google Maps Engine Public Data Program:

  • It's a way for those who have data that contributes to the public good to have it hosted by Google (uploaded in, then hosted in Maps Engine) and findable via Google's tools.
  • It's free.
  • You have to be invited (request an invite).
  • The data will not be added to Google Maps (but you can nominate it to be added).
  • The data might be surfaced (Google's term) via a search or via Google Maps.
  • You can associate usage restrictions plus an optional end user licensing agreement with your data.
  • You can remove the data at any time.
  • You still own the data.
  • You have to agree to several Google licenses to submit the data.

So, what's this about?

Google explains the offer is part of its vision to organize the world's information. The company wants to help data providers get their data out there and get it found. I suspect the company may also want:

  • to introduce as many people as possible to Google Maps Engine
  • provide a simple, free way to lure users of other GIS hosting solutions to share their data though this solution
  • encourage data providers to share their data on a very familiar interface (Google Maps) with potential users
  • continue to grow its place in the enterprise GIS marketplace

Published Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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