No Response from Government Keeps Prizes Away from Google Mapathon Winners

Google has sent out an email to Google India Mapathon participants stating that is unable to announce the winners of the contest that was due on July 23rd because of security concerns expressed by the Survey of India (SOI). It has also displayed the letter on the Mapathon site which says:

As you may know, towards the end of the Mapathon, the Survey Of India (SOI) had expressed concerns over the data added during the contest. Specifically, the SOI wanted to review the data that was added during the Mapathon to make sure that it is safe to publish without revealing information that it considers sensitive. Towards this end, we had provided them the data that was added during the Mapathon, but have not yet heard back.

Google says it will only be able to move ahead and announce the results of the contest only after the SOI gets back to them.

Google had emailed participants also at the end of the contest to inform them of the concerns of the Indian government. The Delhi Police had begun to investigate the contest after a complaint was filed against Google Mapathon 2013 in early April by the Survey of India.

The Survey of India, a government body mandated with the task of surveying and mapping the country, filed a complaint against Google at the RK Puram police station in Delhi stating that the program conducted by Google was against the country’s National Map Policy and map restrictions policies issued by the Defense Ministry.

Around the same time, the BJP had also raised objections to the program citing security issues and policy violations.

Google-Map-maker

The Mapathon 2013 was conducted across India between February 12, 2013 and March 25, 2013 with a theme “to help create better maps for India.” This program, conducted by Google Maps, was an online mapping contest which intended to add more locations such as schools, monuments, parks, restaurants, other public amenities and recreational spots from your locality, all across India.

The contest saw active participation among users across the country, and one participant we spoke to said that he had added over 250 locations and was looking forward to the prizes being announced.

Google had promised Samsung Galaxy Note 800s, Samsung Galaxy S2s, Flipkart gift coupons and also T-shirts and participation certificates from Google. Google still plans to distribute the prizes but only after the SOI gets back to them.

This is not the first time that Google Maps has faced issues with the government. In 2009, the map of Arunachal Pradesh was shown incorrectly and Google later issued a clarification on the incident.

Google also hit a roadblock when it kicked off its street mapping program called ‘Google Street View’ in Bangalore, with the Bangalore Police Department objecting to project, stating that Google did not have the required permissions and clearance for the Government and Ministry of Defense.

Hat tip: @vineetdhanawat