While looking around Google Maps lately, I’ve noticed an interesting label appearing above downtown…Portlandia! Now, as far as I know, Portlandia is not an official place name, nor is it an unofficial neighborhood name. There is a statue named Portlandia in the area labeled on the map, but this is clearly not a landmark label, it is a neighborhood label, just like the “Hosford-Abernethy” label over the Ladd’s Addition in SE Portland.
So…where did this come from? I’m going to do some research, but feel free to drop me a line if you know anything.
Update: OregonLive has posted a short article about the appearance of the Portlandia label, and a Google representative says the label references the statue of Portlandia. While that was my first hunch, it still really doesn’t make a lot of sense. The label is clearly a neighborhood label, and the statue of Portlandia doesn’t appear to have a marker at the most detailed zoom level, where you would expect it to be.
So far, all I can find is that Google stopped using data from trusted geospatial data provider TeleAtlas, and began using their own data in late 2009. This data is combined from various sources, including user input, so my guess is that the addition of ”Portlandia” was a user edit that somehow made it into Google’s “official” map source data.