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Good news, Google launches walking direction-enabled Maps for about 44 African Countries: Now, the question is ”how current are these maps?”

Google Lat Long blog says ”Google Maps for Africa gets better”, how better is this better?. Oh!, walking directions launched!. That sounds like a good news, but the question is, how current are these maps?

I have discussed this with folks, that Google map for my city Abuja-Nigeria hasn’t been helpful in getting driving directions and now we are talking about walking directions. The issue is that, the maps Google has in most of these countries in Africa are not current.

Since 2010 when Google announced the availability of driving directions in most African countries, lots of things have changed in the maps. Many new roads and streets have been constructed, street names have changed, infrastructures changed and added etc.  So how confident can one be of getting reliable directions with these  out-of-date Google maps in these countries.

At least I can say for sure, that Google map of Abuja city where I currently live is as outdated as 2009. I can’t even recall when Google-Nigeria ever embarked on any  mapping  project as done by their colleagues in some other countries.

I suggest that Google could make this development, a welcome and useful one by getting these maps current. Embarking on massive crowd-sourced mapping projects in many of these cities could be a way out. On the other hand acquiring current data from other geospatial data providers, even from Open Street Map could also be the way.

If these maps are made current, then these developments in driving and walking directions, frankly would be awesome developements for the African people. At least the instructions on the map below look cool 🙂

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Looking forward to Near-realtime and Dynamic 4D Geo-referenced Video Mapping: A new dimension to Street Viewing.

No doubt, Street Viewing  (for example, Google Street Viewing) introduced a new dimension to the way we represent and map places. Though movie mapping can be traced back to more than three decades ago. Flat maps, 3D models, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Google Static Street Viewing seriously coming into a confluence.

With the evolving power of computing and web technologies, these stuffs are becoming absolutely interesting and changing the way we perceive this subset of reality (the world).

Presently Street Viewing, for example Google street viewing  affords us to have some kind of  ability  to travel virtually over some areas from within your system on the web without being there physically, ”surrogate travel” in space. Historical views of some places are also possible, giving one the ability to compare the same scenes as they change over time.

However, current street views are static, as if there is a pause in time. I am ernestly looking forward to 4D  dynamic street views and video web maps. The system that presents to us, 3D geo-tagged  photos and Videos of places as the scenes change in time. We will not just be able to have some  sort of ”surrogate travel” in space, but also in time.

Looking at technologies such as CCTV, Augmented reality, smart phones that have the ability not only to submit photos and videos but also the ability to send live or near-realtime feeds of photos and videos of places and events, I guess this 4D street viewing is not far fetched.

The Guardian has an interesting article today in this perspective: Going places: A history of Google Maps with Street View

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