Google recently played host to Africa Map Developers’ conference in Lagos, with a view to understanding their challenges and to share fresh ideas that would enhance their skills and performances, while using the Google Map application tools.
Google Map Developers where drawn from various African regions and were given special briefing for two days, on new developments from the Google Map application tools.
The conference provided ample opportunities for regional map developers to share their challenges and successes in map creation.
Fielding questions from journalists, Senior Product Manager, Google Map Maker, Mr. Jayanth Mysore, who led a team of three Google staff to the Lagos conference, said the conference was the latest in a series of mapping community forums that Google had been holding across the world in the past year.
According to him, there is no business relationship existing between Google Map Developers and Google itself, except that the developers make use of the Google Map tools available online to perfect their creative skills in map development.
“The maps pass through various editing and must be accepted by all developers from the particular region from where the map was developed, before getting Google’s approval for uploading on the Google Map,” Mysore said.
Speaking at the conference, Google Africa Community Manager, Mr. Evans Arabu said,
“Regional conferences create opportunities for volunteer map developers, community leaders, and Google team members to meet each other and discuss how to strengthen the mapping communities in their neighbourhood. We are thrilled to see that the mapping efforts in Africa have been greatly supported by different countries.”
The recent addition of Lesotho as a country open for editing via Google Map Maker, was announced at the Lagos conference.
Also announced was the ongoing mapping initiative for all university campuses in sub-Saharan Africa. A number of universities had already been mapped including University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Benson Idahosa University (BIU) and Ahmadu Bello University, among others across Africa.
Google Map Maker provides opportunity to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth.
By sharing information about business places in towns or building names on school campus, it paves way for accurate mapping of the world around people, Mysore said, adding that updates are reviewed, and once approved, will appear online for people from all over the world to see.
“You can use Map Maker to make updates and improve the comprehensiveness of the areas you are familiar with in more than 200 countries and regions worldwide,” he added.
During the two day conference, super map developers had the opportunity to interact with Google Map Maker engineers and Programme Managers, make presentations, provide useful information from across the continent, during a panel discussion.