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Image: Google Maps Shows Frank Ogawa Plaza as “Oscar Grant Plaza”; Google Says It Was Error

| November 2, 2011
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Huh.

So our morning anchor, Joshua Johnson, was doing a story on the Clorox earnings report, and in the process of finding exactly where their headquarters is located, came upon this:

“Oscar Grant Plaza” is what Occupy Oakland calls Frank Ogawa Plaza, the site of the group’s encampment that was raided by police and dismantled last week, only to rise again when the city backed off another confrontation after a series of conflicts with irate protesters.

Joshua Johnson has a call out to Google now to see what they have to say.

Update 10:03 a.m. The map is both to showing “Frank Ogawa Plaza.” No word yet from Google, but it’s fair to speculate that some Occupy-sympathetic coder may be in trouble of losing his or her subsidized massages.

Update 10:20 a.m. Joshua Johnson just heard from a Google spokesperson via email:

The location previously labeled as “Oscar Grant Plaza” in Google Maps has now been re-labeled with its official name “Frank Ogawa Plaza,” but can continue to be found via searches for both names.

We’re committed to providing our users with the richest, most up-to-date maps possible, and as part of that effort we continuously explore ways to integrate new information. We’ve built our map from a wide range of authoritative sources, ranging from the public and commercial data providers, imagery references, and user contributions. Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map, but maps are constantly changing along with the real world, so we’ll continue to review data and make changes as new information becomes available.

In this case, a user-submitted edit to the official name of the plaza went live in Google Maps, when it should only have been made a search reference.

10:50 a.m. The map appears to have reverted back to saying “Oscar Grant Plaza.” Zoom in all the way below:

Update 12:40 p.m. Joshua Johnson heard from Google again. A spokesperson says the change to “Oscar Grant Plaze” was made late yesterday evening. And…

Uses are able to make contributions or edits to the map via our participatory mapping tool, Google Map Maker. Users must be signed into their Google account to make a contribution on Map Maker, and changes must be approved before they’re reflected in Google Maps. Most contributions are reviewed by fellow mapping volunteers in the Map Maker community, but we also have a small team of Google reviewers across the globe that may review and moderate updates in Map Maker as well. And of course, we take a look at all abuse reports and edits that are brought to our attention for further review. Overall, we believe that the knowledge of participatory mappers in the U.S. expands the depth and breadth of coverage in Google Maps, and dramatically speeds up the time it takes for online maps to reflect the often-changing physical world.

As you’ve noted in your most recent story update, this area is generating a lot of interest. Google reviewers will work to ensure that the name of the plaza is an accurate representation of reality — reflecting its official, government name, but remaining searchable via the name adopted by people on the ground.

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Category: Economy, Tech

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  • Neal

    This is part of an ongoing debate on Google’s Map Maker site. Go to http://goo.gl/chVrT and click on the “details” tab for info.

  • Charley Cowens

    I didn’t see where you could actually debate anything, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to mess with the maps for political purposes.

  • http://johncbaker.blogspot.com John Baker

    I’m sympathetic to the Occupy folks, but to rename Frank Ogawa Plaza anything else is an attack on what the “99%” stand for. Ogawa was a strong advocate for civil rights, was interned during WWII because of his race and fought for equality.

  • Charley Cowens

    I think the Google idea quoted in an update to this article is a good approach. Keep the displayed name as Frank Ogawa Plaza, but allow people to find the location through searches for Oscar Grant Plaza.

  • Angel

    Angelo Mozilo is now living the lifestyle of a billionaire. Is he not in jail because he gave friends and family loans to key government officials? He made most of his money on the backs of subprime borrowers and kept it by telling lies.