Map maker community cries for Pokemon Go players to stop meddling with Google Maps

By Bao Lam, Nhung Nguyen   August 11, 2016 | 06:48 am PT
Map maker community cries for Pokemon Go players to stop meddling with Google Maps
The players have even tried to create a Pokemon University in their neighborhood to attract Pokestops.

Five days after its arrival, Pokemon Go seems to have created many unexpected problems in Vietnam, and its latest victim is Vietnam Google Map Maker.

Vietnam’s Google Map Maker, a community that contributes local map data to the internet search giant posted on their official Facebook page on August 10 an appeal to Pokemon Go players to stop messing up location accuracy of the digital map’s data.

The post, which was reportedly written by an admin named Le Bach, reads: "We are calling on you to stop destroying the map for Pokemon Go's sake.

"Don’t destroy such a useful source of data that has been helping you in your daily life for some momentary pleasure.”


Screen shot of the appeal made by Vietnam’s Google Map Maker on their Facebook page.

Lanh Dong, representative of the group in Vietnam, said many people have attempted to create unreal positions to trick the game provider to place Pokestops near their neighborhood.

Pokestops are virtual places that provide random supporting items for the game and are mostly stationed at popular places or important cultural spots, such as parks and public buildings.

“They want to catch Pokemon and load up items from Pokestops but are too lazy to walk. As a result, many have created unreal locations on the map to attract PokeStops to their neighborhood,” said Dong.

Workload for the team has therefore suddenly surged in the last few days as they have to review a large number of new positions created on the map.


Google Map Maker accused Pokemon Go players of creating fake locations, such as... a Pokemon Univeristy. Such creation is stil pending for review and approval. Photo by Vietnam Google Map Maker's Facebook. 

Not only making up fake sites, Pokemon Go players have also been accused of "moving around" many established places. For example, Maritime University in Hai Phong has been moved to HCMC, while Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry has been "relocated" to Binh Duong Province.

However, commenting on the harsh statement from Vietnam’s Google Map Maker, Google representative who wished to remain anonymous wrote in a statement:

"Map Maker is a community of enthusiastic users from all over the world, who have been contributing accurate data to Google Maps. However, Mr. Le Bach [an admin of Vietnam’s Google Map Maker] is not an official Google employee and his statement does not represent the views of Google."

Speaking to VnExpress International, the Google representative explained that Google Maps data is built from more than a thousand sources, such as official administrative maps of Vietnam, satellite images, or road views pictures...

While Google Map Maker service allows every user to make their own contribution by suggesting more detailed places, those changes are intended to appear on Google Maps only after sufficient review by Google moderators.

"It is therefore not easy for users who play Pokemon Go to make an actual change on Google Maps," said Google representative.

As of 9 p.m., August 11, the fake and incorrect locations mentioned by Google Map Makers have not made it to Google Maps. It means that all the universities are still in place and Pokemon University is nowhere to be found.


The Pokemon University is still pending for approval, apparently.

Google Map Maker is a service launched by Google in June 2008. In geographies where it's hard to find providers of good map data, user contributions can be exploited instead to reach higher quality. 

Launched in Vietnam on August 6, the mobile game Pokemon Go has lured thousands of Vietnamese people into its virtual world. Although this gaming craze has created many issues, this is the first time such serious incident involving the Japanese game has been reported.

Related news:

> Pokemon Go banned by Vietnamese companies

> Pokemon Go player has smartphone snatched in Saigon

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