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Crowdsourced maps take inspiration from Pac-Man

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Free mapping service Waze is hoping to fill gaps by providing users with virtual rewards for real work.

"Cherries", "hammers" and "small gifts" will be awarded to users driving down a specific street or across a junction where Waze finds a disconnect in its crowd-sourced maps, the idea being to speed up completion of some comprehensive maps so Waze can sell them to someone.

Waze isn't the only crowdsourced mapping project - OpenStreetMap is also trying to map the world using GPS-equipped volunteers tramping about the place recording details. Waze is the only one who offers virtual rewards to those who take the time to visit badly-mapped places, however. OpenStreetMap hold parties there instead.

Waze already places munchable dots, in the Pac Man style, but is now adding fruits and other bonuses at places where the map is incomplete or disconnected. This is all about status of course, the user with lots of points feels the same joy as the Wikifiddler with lots of modifications to their name. It's just a shame that the joy of such things seems to be fading.

Neither project has much in the way of a business model: both maintain that the map data will remain free for little people indefinitely, so the money will come from licensing fees squeezed from big bad corporations, eventually. But until then it's buzzwords for breakfast, paid for with Venture Capital. ®

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