Inclusion of Latino-oriented local businesses in popular online maps
An empirical study in the Inland Northwest of the United States
Keywords:online maps, entrepreneurship, Latino communities, placemaking, OpenStreetMap
Entrepreneurship in the Latino community is transforming the business landscapes of small and medium-sized cities throughout agricultural regions of the United States. These new businesses offer their owners and employees an alternative to farm or industrial work, while creating jobs, revitalizing often-vacant parts of town, and offering a sense of place and familiarity to recent immigrants and their families. This study examines to what degree popular online maps are likewise transforming to include these Latino-oriented local businesses. We visited strategically-selected commercial areas of four cities with relatively high Latino populations in the Inland Northwest region, recorded all operational businesses, then compared this inventory with businesses symbolized on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, and OpenStreetMap. We also studied the activity history of contributors who added Latino-oriented local businesses to OpenStreetMap. We found that Latino-oriented local businesses appeared in significantly fewer map platforms than other businesses. Additionally, national chain businesses appeared in significantly more map platforms than local businesses, and areas with relatively high Latino populations saw significantly less mapping of businesses than other areas. OpenStreetMap had low inclusion of Latino-oriented local businesses. We offer possibilities for future research and ways to improve the rate of mapping of these businesses. We also describe how all field notes from this project were added to OpenStreetMap following the study.