A fascinating in-depth look by Alexis Madrigal at how Google maps the world. What’s interesting to me is just how much human involvement this takes — there’s no doubt that Google Maps is the premier online mapping service — but how does Google make money off of Maps?

That’s the real question. Having used iOS 6’s new mapping application, it’s readily apparent to me that while not as good as Google’s, I’ve yet to be frustrated, lost, or annoyed by Apple’s offering. Which is to say, I bet most other people won’t be bothered by Apple’s offering either — where does that leave Google? Will people really care to download a Google Maps app, when the built in one is pretty damned good too?

Does Mapquest often get downloaded on iPhones? I think we have our answer.

So while Google spends millions, billions(?), on maps I have to wonder if it will all have been wasted as a source of income for them.

Posted by Ben Brooks