Everyone's favorite navigation tool, Google Maps, has clearly made adjustments to the neighborhood name layer that used to be so random and often strangely archaic. Back in August, a post on The Awl called out Google Maps for the complete lack of sense in the naming of the area around Wilshire and Highland: "Google Maps calls this neighborhood Dockweiler. Where it gets this from, I have no idea. Los Angeles does have a Dockweiler--but it's Dockweiler State Beach, 15 miles away, by the airport. Google Maps calls the adjoining neighborhood Sanford. But that's Koreatown. Google Maps is just making stuff up." Dockweiler is no longer visible on the map (nor is Sanford for that matter, which got some attention from LA Observed in August 2010), but there are still some disconnects between the local lexicon, the LA Times Mapping LA project, and the place names that Google Maps uses--not to mention the weird discrepancies that pop up when you zoom in or out of a Google Map (e.g., Silver Lake is visible for the first few levels of zoom, only to be replaced by Edendale at one level, and then Silver Lake again).
In an email to Curbed today, a Google rep writes: "We're constantly working on ways to improve our maps with the most up-to-date information available, so the data on Google Maps is continuously being updated. Since this is a truly ongoing project, we're not able to share the exact changes that were made at a given time, but I can share that the map data comes from a wide range of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and commercial data providers. Neighborhood labels are often part of the data sets we get from the sources we work with to build the basemap, and in our effort to provide a rich and useful digital atlas for our users, we do our best to accurately reflect the information from those valued sources on Google Maps. As always, we encourage users to let us know when something is incorrect by using the 'Report a Problem' tool, found at the bottom right corner of the map."
· What Do You Call the Wilshire Blvd./Highland Ave. Area? [The Awl]
· Google defeated by complexity of L.A. geography [LA Observed]