Google is to reopen its Map Maker platform in August with a new community-policed review system, after a giant Android robot urinating on the Apple logo was drawn over Pakistan.
The May incident caused Google to shut down the service, which allows a community of users to edit maps and keep them up to date. Map Maker will be gradually brought back online from early August, but before then the search giant will review applications by mappers to become 'Regional Lead' on map edits in their area.
"Map Maker will be increasingly made open for moderation by the community," product manager Pavithra Kanakarajan said in a company blog post, adding that some edits will still require moderation by Google operators.
Kanakarajan continued: "The reason for this change is that every time we observed someone attempting to vandalise the map, many of you acted quickly to remove the offending feature and demonstrated real ownership of maps within your region. We have come to the conclusion that of all the defences available to keeping our maps clean, the interest of a community of well-intentioned users is among the most reliable and fast."
Before Map Maker is brought back online in August, Google will select mappers from each region and offer them an opportunity to become leader of that area. Edits made in their region will be reviewed both by Google's automated moderation systems, and by the Regional Lead – not a Google employee – who will "only occasionally moderate edits,"
The system is similar to how Wikipedia operates, where volunteers keep tabs on edits made to articles by a large community of writers and editors.
Kanakarajan admits that this system will likely mean slower moderation of edits, but says Google "fully intends to grow the number of users who will be able to moderate in each country... over time."
The urinating Android was quickly removed after being spotted by Google, but to highlight holes in its review process a message reading "Google review policy is crap" was drawn into the landscape a new miles east of the original vandalism.