Google Maps API presents outdated maps

Products,Search by on August 4, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Our users at Judy’s Book often suggest corrections for the businesses that they have reviewed. One user pointed out that our map showing the location of a business showed an old location. The area around the coffee shop was new and new roads had been built.

I was surprised to find an entirely different map when I checked the same address on Google Maps. Not only were there new roads, there were new parks, schools and other buildings. Take a look at the differences:

Map retreived from Google Maps API (for a coffee shop on Judy’s Book)

Google API Map

Current Google Map

Current map on Google Maps

Is this driven by licensing requirements, technical considerations or just poor product planning? I wonder if the Yahoo maps API does the same thing?


I asked this question on Google Answers, and Google took it down! Here is the question and their response:

Why does Google Maps API show outdated maps?

I recently discovered that they show different maps through their API than they show on their website. In fact, it looks like they show older maps through their API.

You can see several screenshots here: Why does Google do this? Is it due to license restrictions from their data providers, some intentional dithering (GPS anyone), or something else? Does yahoo do the same with their maps api?
Their response:
Thank you for your question ID 755934, titled “Google Maps.” We’ve removed your question because you can find the answer on our main site, free of charge. All publicly available information about Google is available at:

For additional questions about Google, please visit:

Thank you for your interest in Google Answers. Please visit us again.


The Google Answers Team
OK, so they took down the question. Pretty weak. I searched pretty hard and couldn’t find the answer on their site. I guess I’ll try on Yahoo Answers.


I asked the question on Yahoo Answers and received a bunch of useless responses. For those that are interested, you can find it here: Yahoo Answers Responses. Shortly after my question expired, I received a really helpful email from a user (possible Yahoo employee?). Here is the response below:
From: ab

Subject: Why does Google have outdated maps?

Message: Some useful information, since your question is no longer open for answering.

Basically, Tele Atlas must’ve offered better terms on using their map data on the API than Navteq did to Google. Within the industry, Navteq is considered to have better data; they’re also a tougher negotiator. When map data is made available via an API, the data companies expect much more compensation for its use, as it may replace opportunities to resell that data elsewhere.

Yahoo! prodominately use Navteq data on their beta consumer maps offering and APIs - the tiles are being
pulled from the same servers. As of a week ago, 2nd quarter Navteq data - the latest - is being served.
(I helped put it out on the server; that’s why I know :) ).
Google uses 1st Quarter Navteq data on their consumer maps, who knows on their API.

Check out


I hope this helps.
Wow, pretty interesting. I somehow assumed that since Google/Yahoo/MSN/Mapquest were all using data from the same providers that they would have equivalent quality. The email above seems to assert that Google is being ?cheap? and not delivering the highest quality data possible. I’m going to dig into this more.


No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Dave Naffziger's BlogDave & Iva Naffziger