Microsoft may turn to mobile gaming for crowdsourced mapping data

Keeping map data relevant's a full-time job -- just ask Nokia, Google and, yes, even Apple. Which is why Microsoft may be gearing up to offload some of that heavy lifting to users in the augmented reality guise of mobile gaming. Or at least that's one possible future outlined by a recently surfaced patent application. The USPTO doc, filed back in June of 2011, clearly lays out a crowdsourced "data collection system" whereby users sent on virtual missions to specific real-world targets would aid in the gathering of up-to-date geo-location data. With its thriving Xbox gaming arm and reinvigorated inroads into the mobile space, it wouldn't be much of a stretch for Microsoft to leverage a bit of corporate synergy to make its own mapping service more accurate, or simply license the data. Whatever the case may be, it's all up in legal limbo for the time being. So, for now, you'll have to content yourselves with AR missions of the Ingress kind.