We have been playing around with Google’s MapMaker product a lot lately. While this won’t come as a shock to the seasoned local search professionals out there let me tell you, it’s a buggy product. Just the other day I had it return auto-suggest results in what I think was Dutch. While UI glitches are one thing, it’s totally different when the issue is with the local data itself. I was looking at MapMaker data for a large, multi-location client when I saw this:

Google MapMaker  Result Boundery

Uh oh…

While I wouldn’t consider myself a MapMaker guru, I do spend enough time in it to know when something is out of whack. Associating a car dealership as the grounds/boundary for a physical location is definitely out of whack. Dauntless, I pressed on. While it seems like this could be a mundane issue with the MapMaker database, that didn’t seem to be the case. Just take a gander at the listing:

MapMaker Business as a Boundary

Pop quiz hotshot, why is this listing unlike other listings?

Several reasons:

-Ability to change the bounding line of the address aka the purple sea.
-No phone number
-No hours of operation
-While it display’s multiple categories, only the primary one is editable.

In addition to only being able to edit the primary category, when I went to change it I couldn’t add in a standard category like “Ford Dealer” (probably because it isn’t classified as a standard business).

MapMaker Category Selection Borked

So what I think happened is that somehow this listing has data from two sets of MapMaker features, businesses and grounds/boundary. This is a big deal because this listing is feeding data to the clients Google My Business listing for this location and not all of that data can be corrected. As most of you probably know, MapMaker is a major data source for Google My Business and since it’s such a buggy product there is bound to be blowback into Google’s consumer facing local product. I’m going to post an update as we go through getting this resolved so that if this ever happens to you, you at least know that you aren’t walking through the MapMaker darkness alone.


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4 Response Comments

  • david mihm  January 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Just encountered a similar issue for a super well-known hotel. It’s in mapmaker as “building” in addition to hotel and all the usual categories. As a result it rarely gets a knowledge panel for a brand-name search that points to its my business page.

    Mapmaker’s response: although we agree with your edit, we can’t technically fix the problem.

  • Dan Leibson  January 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

    That’s encouraging! I will let you know if I have any better luck.

    This location is getting a KP for a branded search, but I can’t get the primary category to change from Car Dealer to Ford Dealer, even if done via GMB support.

  • Richard  January 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    this issue is now (mostly) fixed in MapMaker. listings can no longer be converted into a grounds (was a big issue).

    this also can occur as a result of a bad merge.

    Post in the Google Product Forum for mapmaker and someone will fix it.

    Also a dealership may have a listing and a seperate grounds. in this case listings take precedence in search.

    GMB support is unable to edit grounds / boundaries ever. these are essential mapping features. boundary lines / polygons are all over the map.

    Only MapMaker and possibly Google atlas has edit rights.

  • Cody  February 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Hey Andrew,

    We’ve been struggling with this. Another issue to point out is that when the grounds and business both exist, the grounds will be added as a part of the business address. I’ve found this to be true for auto dealers and malls.

    I don’t consider myself an expert, but one thing that I have learned is to make sure that you keep buildings, businesses, and grounds separate.