Sunday, February 21, 2010

Google maps Nigeria

Global IT giants, Google, have started a training programme with Nigerian application developers on how to fully utilize and get more conversant with Google applications especially the Google Maps. The three day event themed, G-Nigeria, opened at the Afe Babalola Hall, University of Lagos, on Thursday.

The programme could be a positive development for Information Technology in Nigeria, and is meant to serve as a medium for Google to show its presence in the Nigerian market and to the Nigerian public. Subsequent days of the programme would include marketing professionals and computer science students.

Yesterday’s seminar aims at showing developers how to fully utilise the Google maps, such that it would benefit users and their businesses, like advertising their business on Google maps; how to create their own maps and find locations and navigation. Part of the training also involves how to cite local businesses on the maps, for customers who are sourcing for products and services in the user’s locality.

At the training session were several key Google officials including Nelson Mattose, Vice President Google Engineering Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Christian Miccio, Product Manager Google Maps EMEA. Mr Mattose in his keynote spoke of the strategies Google would use to improve IT in Nigeria, which include increasing access to the Internet, engaging in more training and improving access to computer products.

Developing applications

Mr. Miccio, in his lecture, taught participants how to develop applications for Google maps. He taught how to effectively use the application, and how it could benefit the users business.

He also showed how to integrate Google maps on personal websites and finding locations through navigation.

Nyimbi Odero, Google’s West Africa Lead, earlier told journalists, “We’re very excited about the launch today and we hope this is just the beginning for Google Maps in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa. Google Maps isn’t just searchable digitized maps helping you to find a local place, service or product - our goal is to make information with a geographical dimension available to everyone and to allow users to update the maps and develop on top of them. We believe more accurate, representative local information can greatly improve the breadth of information available about a given area and in turn can help efforts to bolster tourism and business investment.”

He explained that the activation of the Google map will show detailed maps of many Nigerian towns including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other areas which will now be accessible on any web browser or also through Google Maps on mobile. The mobile version would be particularly useful for navigation.

Google already has strong Google Maps presence in Sub Saharan Africa including Kenya and South Africa.


Related story: Two awards for Nigeria at UN's ICT confab 

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