Who watches the Google Mapmakers? Brooklyn chefs, duh! Back in July we got our panties in a twist when Google Maps tried to tell us that there was a Manhattan Neighborhood called "Midtown South Central" and soon after that got a total Internet crush on "Matthew," the user who nipped the problem in the bud. Seems we weren't the only ones, because today the Times has a profile of another local map editor named Matthew Hyland (
possibly the same one? the same guy!) who keeps our Google Maps free of RAMBOs ("Right Around Manhattan Bridge Overpass"). Exactly.
The problem is that people (*cough* real estate agents *cough*) really like to jigger around neighborhood borders in NYC—which isn't hard to do since there aren't any official neighborhood definitions in the city (nope, Community Board areas, like police precincts, are not neighborhoods). And because of things like Wikipedia and Google MapMapker, it is a breeze to go and add a hood or bend a border. Which is where the guys like brooklyn chef Matthew Hyland, an unpaid "regional expert reviewer" on Google, come in.
"I like my maps accurate," he explained to the Times. Which means he spends lots of time spent keeping real estate agents honest and deleting fake names and rebending borders. For example:
In Manhattan, the borders of Hudson Square, around the Holland Tunnel, and of Turtle Bay, by the United Nations, prompt fierce debate. TriBeCa keeps creeping eastward, from the traditional Broadway to Lafayette or Centre Street. “That’s real estate people doing that kind of thing,” said Mr. Hyland, who rejects those proposed changes. “They want to sell a loft in TriBeCa instead of a loft in Chinatown.”
Of course, you don't have to take Matthew Hyland and his fellow critics opinions either. If you want to play map maker yourself, you sure can. Just be prepared to defend yourself in the comments.