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Associate, Maps Quality at Google


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#1
Derek Tonn

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http://www.linkedin....trk=nmp_rj_job#

Job Description

This position is based in Mountain View, CA.

The area: Product Quality Operations

The Product Quality Operations (PQO) team defends the integrity of Google, its users, and partners worldwide by fighting spam, fraud, and abuse across Google products. We are dedicated to protecting Google's brand and reputation and ensuring product quality to the company's expanding base of advertisers, publishers, and users in more than 40 languages on a global basis. We partner with our Product Managers and Engineers to fight fraud and abuse across a broad range of products such as AdWords, AdSense, Google Search, Checkout and Maps. This means that PQO team members need to be proactive, motivated, organized, responsible, innovative – and able to work well in a fast-paced, global, cross-functional, and team-oriented environment while demonstrating technical know-how and getting things done.

The role: Associate, Maps Quality

As a Maps Quality Associate, you will be responsible for protecting the integrity of Google Maps by investigating questionable business practices and misuse of the Local Business Center and other Maps applications. You will be introduced to dynamic analytical techniques and leverage custom-built technology to improve maps quality and directly impact millions of Google's users. As an ideal candidate, you subscribe to a "user-first" philosophy and are interested in improving Google's user experience and product integrity. You are comfortable navigating ambiguity, thrive in a fast-paced environment, and can effectively harness your analytical skills and innovative ideas to drive tool development and process improvements.

Responsibilities:

• Investigate Maps quality issues, identify product vulnerabilities and recommend strategy adjustments based on market trends and patterns.
• Collaborate with cross-functional groups such as Engineering and Product to enhance tools, improve process efficiency and develop analytical techniques.
• Innovate and implement large-scale quality improvements to Google Maps.
• Design and lead cross-functional projects within Google.
• Become an expert in Maps quality and educate users on best practices for Google products such as the Local Business Center.

Requirements:

• BA/BS degree preferred with a strong academic record.
• At least 1 year of experience or a new graduate with a successful track record.
• Experience with a coding language (C/C++, Python, HTML, Javascript)
• Experience at an Internet company or in a web-research related role a plus, but not required.
• Strong project management skills and ability to multi-task.
• Affinity for identifying complex problems and implementing creative, data-driven solutions.
• Interest in innovation, technology and Google products.
Additional Information

Posted:
March 17, 2011
Type:
Full-time
Experience:
Associate
Functions:
Quality Assurance
Industries:
Internet
Job ID:
1336477
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#2
Derek Tonn

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If I were in a different place in life (and the pay level for this position was good), or things at mapformation were on the ropes, this would probably be a "dream job" of mine. I'm a big fan of what Google's been doing the past several years, and I know of several ways that they could make their Maps, StreetView and Earth products better.

But alas, I'm sure the pay isn't terribly great (since it sounds like much more of an entry-level position), things at mapformation have been going very well (although after another LONG Winter and projected flooding this Spring that will be three feet above last Fall's flood crest we had here in town, the fourth flood we will have had to endure in 12 months, California's sounding pretty nice right about now...lol), and we've got a great team of people who continually teach me new things and make me a better designer (and better person). But I wanted to share the job announcement with everyone here...and if anyone is interested in applying, let me know and I can share more of those ideas related to Maps, StreetView and Earth that could get you a second interview. B)
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#3
Charles Syrett

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I notice that the "Requirements" don't include anything about cartography education or experience. Anyone surprised? :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#4
James Hines

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I notice that the "Requirements" don't include anything about cartography education or experience. Anyone surprised? :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


Sounds like that Google has the job title all wrong because it looks like to me they are not looking for a map quality expert but a GIS Market Analyst. It only shows that Google has no real knowledge in this industry & when it comes down to it though useful it will never be a true rival to the GIS field. So go get your grade 'B' meat.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#5
David Medeiros

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I'm surprised the full title isn't Maps Quality "Engineer". This looks like a typical QA position focused on misuses of the marketing aspects of Google maps. Potentially looking for missed revenue as well? I'm certain this job has little to no connection with cartography. "Maps quality" in this case is likely analogous to "Maps integrity", meaning they want to be sure their products are not being misused, or misrepresented by business users.

Derek, I'm not sure what your idea of a dream job is but my limited (second hand) experience with similar positions at other large silicon valley companies is that you would be worked like a dog for what might seem like a lot of money until you realize how much of your time they want. These companies are very competitive and getting them on your resume carries a lot of weight. They take advantage of this to hire young workers, recent grads with no family obligations who will be happy to spend countless over-time hours and weekends putting out other peoples fires and stay late every night working on the next big project that absolutely must get done by tomorrow etc. There is almost never any big reward at the end of this like there might be at a start up. I don't know anyone at Google so can't comment directly but there is a certain culture here in the Bay Area with companies like this. Perfect job for a recent grad but probably not for an experienced cartographer or GIS professional.


Hasdrubal, I disagree. I think Google actually has a very good understanding of the web mapping industry. They are the current leaders and despite the fact that they seem to hire on the engineer and programming side for their mapping group as opposed to using cartographers, I think their map products are very well designed and do their job fairly well. They show a good sense of innovation and user interface design. As for being a rival to desktop GIS, don't be to sure. Have you played with Fusion Tables yet? They are clearly heading in that direction with more and more powerful analytical tools for use with their already powerful mapping engine. It won't supplant traditional GIS entirely but I suspect you will see a lot of desktop GIS users switch to cloud GIS in the near future (as the technology develops).

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#6
Derek Tonn

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Hey David!

I've been working 65+ hours/week, 52 weeks/year since about 1994...so even if Google only wanted a person 3,000 hours/year vs. 2,000, I'd feel like I was on vacation! :D I love what I do, but I've personally paid a heavy, heavy price away from work to get our company to the point it is at today. I just hope my wife, daughters, clients, and other designers appreciate the sacrifice.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#7
Derek Tonn

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I notice that the "Requirements" don't include anything about cartography education or experience. Anyone surprised? :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


Isn't that what a lot of modern-day cartography has been reduced to? "Data analysts" and "data managers" with little/no sense of design, little/no training in typography and color, little/no training in illustration, and little/no understanding of how to balance positive and negative space?!

I still cringe at the thought of a data set and a "Color Brewer" being called cartography. MAYBE a map...since a map can be just about anything, in any form! But cartography, to me, is a visual art...whereas importing data sets and using a "brewer" to pick a color palette for people is about as much "art" as those paint by number books my eight and five year olds will work on after dinner.

Okay, I'd better make a run for it...as I'm sensing torches and pitchforks in my VERY near future... ;)
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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I still cringe at the thought of a data set and a "Color Brewer" being called cartography. MAYBE a map...since a map can be just about anything, in any form! But cartography, to me, is a visual art...whereas importing data sets and using a "brewer" to pick a color palette for people is about as much "art" as those paint by number books my eight and five year olds will work on after dinner.

Okay, I'd better make a run for it...as I'm sensing torches and pitchforks in my VERY near future... ;)


Not from me. There's more to map design than just slapping some visualisation rules on a dataset.
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#9
David Medeiros

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Okay, I'd better make a run for it...as I'm sensing torches and pitchforks in my VERY near future... ;)


I'm keeping my pitchfork sharp for people who refer to cartography as "making maps pretty"!

I like your emphasis on the difference between a map and cartography Derek. I'm going to use that in my anti pretty-map rants form now on.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#10
Charles Syrett

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Another good one, Derek. Here's a brief one from me:

<begin rant>
Why do some folks refer to researching, compiling, drawing, labeling, etc., as "tedious"? These folks typically offer some horrible program-y way (often more time-consuming, and with inferior results) to avoid ordinary (and enjoyable) cartographic activities. Wanna know what's tedious? Programming.
<end rant>

OK, folks -- torches and pitchforks, if you dare.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#11
François Goulet

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Isn't that what a lot of modern-day cartography has been reduced to? "Data analysts" and "data managers" with little/no sense of design, little/no training in typography and color, little/no training in illustration, and little/no understanding of how to balance positive and negative space?!

I still cringe at the thought of a data set and a "Color Brewer" being called cartography. MAYBE a map...since a map can be just about anything, in any form! But cartography, to me, is a visual art...whereas importing data sets and using a "brewer" to pick a color palette for people is about as much "art" as those paint by number books my eight and five year olds will work on after dinner.

Okay, I'd better make a run for it...as I'm sensing torches and pitchforks in my VERY near future... ;)



Cartography rules!! B)

#12
Derek Tonn

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Yes, I hope people didn't take my comments the wrong way (rudely). Nothing against what any of us do, or how any of us do it. Mapping is a broad umbrella (tent) that has plenty of room for all who want to attend our "revival meetings" and be saved. :P

I just think back to when I was growing up back in the 1970s, and even straight-through to today. What excites me is looking at maps that can mentally transport me to an area. Where I can envision standing on a particular street corner or hill top and seeing whatever it is that I would see. Basically, "fussy" pieces of art that one could happily become lost in for hours on end. The seismic shift from maps as art to maps as information (maps have always been both...I'm just talking emphasis or focus/priorities here) has made maps a lot more accurate over the past few decades. However, I feel as though map design has lost a little bit of its soul in the process. Data and efficiency has replaced art.

Google and others have been leading the charge toward "maps as information" for years! So why on Earth would anyone concerned with "maps as art" like working with them? For one, they are at least becoming more sensitive to the OTHER 50% of the population who doesn't navigate via lat/long, direction and distance! Earth and the "3D" features they've been adding to Maps, even for how crudely/poorly a lot of the structures are drawn, is at least a start in the "right" direction...and StreetView is a God-send for people who are looking for all those little visual breadcrumbs to find what they are looking for (texture, color, unique landmarks, etc.).

There also is the old adage of "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer." :) Google isn't really the enemy though. The enemy is the loss of "art" via the homogeneous approach to map design. It's like shopping at WalMart vs. shopping at the neighborhood mom and pop. People visiting unfamiliar areas like the familiarity of knowing that housewares are going to be next to plumbing on aisle 17...whether they are in Minneapolis or Memphis. However, what makes our communities interesting places to live and visit are the quirks and differences. Just like with mapping. It is one's unique approach to presenting information visually that makes a map interesting or appealing.

That's the other thing too. If dozens/hundreds of cartographers are all starting from the same base data sets, drawing in the same software, choosing from the same few-dozen projections (though their colleagues will poo-poo them for not being "intelligent" enough to select from a much more-narrow set than that, for different applications), from the same 8-10 "brewer" palettes, how is that any different over time than what Google or Microsoft have been doing? Isn't that also creating homogeneous presentations where a lot more creativity/uniqueness used to be present? The main difference between what Google is doing and what a lot of us are doing is essentially users/impressions (impressions, in the web sense). Their maps are viewed by hundreds of millions (billions?). Our maps are viewed by anywhere from hundreds up to maybe millions. So our maps appear more "unique" than theirs. But is that only because we have a narrower audience for our work?

I'm not knocking anyone by saying that. Either that, or I'm knocking myself as well! Every day, one of the big things I try and see our company NOT doing is "business as usual." Having a campus map in Kentucky look just like a different map of a campus in Colorado. That's hard to avoid sometimes without adding hours of extra work coming up with new tree designs, new iconography, daring to be bold and trying some new typefaces, etc.! However, I want maps to be created more artistically/organically...not following steps and procedures, and the same template or blueprint over and over again!

Whew! I think I've added to my Word Count title at CartoTalk! :lol: However, this issue cuts to the very core of what a lot of us are doing. And why we are doing it.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com




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