Thursday, June 6, 2019

My Devotion to Place Edits and Photo Sharing on Google Maps

Hello, my name is Adriansyah Putera, but you can call me Adrian. I am an Indonesian teacher for non-native speakers of Indonesian, and I am also a freelance local guide in my hometown Bengkulu. I have been contributing to Google Maps since September 2015, and I'm now a Level 9 Google Local Guide.  

I love all 10 Google Maps contribution options, but my two most favorite options are place edits and photo sharing

Why do I love place edits?
Well, the Google Maps application is relatively new for many people in Bengkulu and its neighboring cities.  Since 2016, I have found a lot of inaccurate information, for example, wrongly placed map markers, incorrect categories, and mistaken hours from the local places and businesses on Google Maps. This issue has been my top priority since then.

My understanding, based on my findings in my city, is that there are still many Google Maps users with insufficient technical know-how. Here are some examples. 

Firstly, they don’t know about the function of the blue circle, that is, the “My Location” button in order to get their best approximate location when they need to add a new place or business, so it is very common that they just give a rough guess and pin down an approximation of their location. This can be very confusing for users. 

Secondly, for some reason, there are a lot of people (including Google Maps users) in Bengkulu and neighboring cities who just keep English as the default display language on their devices, even though they don’t really understand English. As a result, those who have limited English understanding, find Google Maps rather challenging to navigate. When it comes to selecting a category to describe a place or business, they could end up adding or selecting either a wrong category or a broad category, for example; store, school, market, or restaurant. As for ‘hours’, people are often confused by the usage of a.m and p.m. 

As a local guide, by correcting these issues, I see an opportunity to help Google Maps users, and local places or businesses that the Google Maps application serves. I spend at least 30 minutes per day searching around my city on Google Maps in order to find inaccurate information. I really enjoy doing this as I am able to help Google Maps users and support the Google Local Guides program to make Google Maps information more accurate and helpful. I also enjoy the opportunity to gain more points, frankly speaking. Finally, another reason why I love place edits, is that this feature allows me to report fake businesses, fake phone numbers, fake web sites, and inappropriate or illegal content to be removed. 

Why do I love to share photos on Google Maps?
I love photography, and for me, photography is about sharing. Sharing photos on Google Maps can provide useful visual information and help others see unfamiliar places they might want to visit, atmosphere of restaurants or cafes, accessibility, etc. I don’t really have any favorite photography style, I just want viewers to know and feel something through my lens. When it comes to sharing photos on Google Maps, I almost always try to share photos from places I have visited to help people better understand when they want to visit those places. I get a great sense of satisfaction and happiness from being able to help others while doing something that I am passionate about. 

Here are some my favorite shots I have shared on Google Maps,

Lake Mas Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu province, Indonesia
I love this photo for several reasons. First, this photo is my most viewed photo on Google Maps. This photo has been viewed over 845,000 times at the time of writing. Second, this photo always reminds me of a great nature hike I had with my two friends from Florida - USA.

I took this photo when my daughter and I were walking home from celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day. I want to show the atmosphere of the neighborhood and tell people that the neighborhood road is too narrow if two cars going in opposite directions.

Blooming Rafflesia arnoldii - see and smell it!
This is a photo from my nature walk with my wife when we finally found the world's largest flower - Rafflesia arnoldii in the wild. Based on my experience, I can tell that Rafflesia arnodii is not stinky and not a carnivorous plant like many people think. Location: Taba Penanjung, Central Bengkulu, Indonesia.

Helping just one person is worth it, but over a long and helpful contribution, I and also you all, have the chance to help thousands of people.

Keep contributing,
Adriansyah Putera

Note: I posted this article for the first time on Local Guides Connect April 2019 for one of requirements to apply Connect Live 2019.

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