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Google Maps data are user-editable, hence the Heroes’ Cemetery incident

The viral "Libingan ng mga Bayani at Isang Magnanakaw."

On Wednesday morning, the name of the Heroes’ Cemetery on Google Maps was changed to Libingan ng mga Bayani at Isang Magnanakaw (Cemetery of Heroes and A Burglar).

Google users have the capability to change any point in Google Maps. According to the Terms of Service for the Google Map Maker, “the Service allows (users) to add and edit map data on high resolution geographic imagery provided by Google.”

"Suggest an edit" option from the Google Maps information tab.

By simply clicking on the “suggest an edit” button in the Information window of any location in the map, an “edit” pane will then open. According to the edit window, the user will then receive an email about the status of edits made on a certain location.

The edit window and the maps' Google Help tab.

According to Google Help, Google is reviewing all edits before they get posted online. It is also said that “… changes might take some time to show up on the map.“ Web Outsourcing Gateway has tried editing a location in the map and is still waiting for Google’s approval as of the time of writing.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court released the ruling that former President Ferdinand Marcos can now be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes). Speculations have it that this is the reason for the sudden inclusion of “at isang magnanakaw (and a burglar)” to the name of the honoured cemetery.

According to a report on GMA News Online, a user named Anonymous0463 was responsible for 54 changes recorded on the location information. The question now remains on when the user edited the information on the location, how long did it take Google to approve the said changes and how such information had been approved.

Google Philippines still has not given any statement about the incident but the name of the cemetery has been changed back to Libingan ng mga Bayani as of the time of posting.

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