How Online Maps Update Their Data After Major Road Closures

This week has revealed a lot about how the online mapping sites respond to disasters that close major routes and affect driving directions. Within two days of the MacArthur Maze freeway collapse in Oakland, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest had updated their web sites and revised their recommended driving directions; Tele Atlas’s database was updated within a day (Newsfactor, Yahoo Local and Maps Blog). In contrast, no update was issued when a Seattle-area bridge was closed: the difference is in the duration of the closure. If a bridge or freeway is out for days, it’s not worth updating, because it’ll likely be open again by the time the updates are pushed through the system. Longer term closures — like the MacArthur Maze collapse — are a different matter. Via All Points Blog.