Ghana hooked onto Google Maps

Ghana has been hooked on to the Google Maps scheme, an Internet search regime that captures the relevant country with minute details of towns, streets and other

landmarks.

The inclusion of Ghana and other countries on the Google Maps is part of a project aimed at using the magic of the Internet to speed up the process of globalisation and is expected to impact hugely on the promotion of tourism and local business.

The Google Maps in Ghana can be viewed in several forms – the “Map” button shows a traditional map view very ideal for finding addresses or planning for direction from one point to another.

The “Satellite” button shows satellite and aerial view of photographs for users interested in details; the “Terrain” view shows the physical geography of places, such as hills and mountains.

“We’re very excited about the launch today and we hope this is just the beginning of Google Maps in Ghana. Google Maps aren’t just searchable digitised maps helping you to find a local place, service or product; our goal is to make information with a geographical dimension available and to allow users to update the maps and develop on top of them,” the Country Manager of Google, Estelle Akofio-Sowah, remarked.

With the launch of the initiative, Ghana joins 31 other sub-Saharan African countries currently hooked on to the Google Maps, an initiative packed with tremendous economic benefits, such as boosting tourism and promoting small and large-scale business entities.

“The new service means that Google Maps users will now be able to search up to date online maps, look out for businesses, advertise for free via Google Maps Local. Business Centre, create their own maps and even check locations while they are on the move,” the country office of Google noted in a press statement.

As Ghana endeavours to increase annual tourism arrivals to one million by 2012, the Google Maps innovation provides a perfect opportunity for the country to showcase its tourism potential to the outside world.

The Google Maps comes in very handy as it allows users to access information on streets, addresses and local businesses by downloading the maps on their mobile phones without any cost.

For local business entities, Google Maps is a very ideal product because it allows them to advertise freely, even without their personal website.

One exciting feature of the initiative is the Google Maps Maker, which allows users to locate, draw, label and provide attributes of local map features, such as roads, parks and rivers.

Furthermore, users can create personalized, annotated, customized maps using the “My Map” feature, which allows them to share information with family and friends.

Ms Akofio-Sowah says one major focus of the initiative is to encourage students to take keen interest in the use of the Internet.

In that regard, she says Google has been working with some tertiary institutions in the country, adding that already, it has organised a training programme for students of the Geography Department of the University of Ghana.

Founded in 1998 by two Stanford PhD students – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – Google has grown over the years to become a major search engine, connecting millions of people across the world through information.