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Google launches Maps for Sub-Saharan Africa

As of today new detailed maps of 30 African cities and towns are accessible on Google Maps through any web browser or via Google Maps for mobile on data enabled handsets. The new service means that Google Maps users will now be able to search online maps, look up businesses, advertise for free via Google Maps Local Business Centre, create their own maps and even check locations while they’re on the move.

Google Maps in the Sub-Saharan African countries can be viewed in several ways. The “Map” button shows the traditional map view, ideal for finding an address or planning a route from A to B. To explore in more detail, users can choose the “Satellite” button, which includes satellite and aerial photographs. The “Terrain” view shows the physical geography of a place (for example, the hills and mountains). This button is a great choice if you’re heading out of the city to the countryside.

Joseph Mucheru, Google’s Regional Lead, Sub Saharan Africa, said:

“This is a very exciting pan-African launch and we are delighted to be improving our maps functionality for Africa, helping to make information about the continent readily available. Google Maps isn’t just searchable digitized maps helping you to find a local place, service or product – it is about making information with a geographical dimension available to everyone and allowing users to update the maps and develop on top of them. We believe that 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.”

Musician D’Banj, who created one of the first My Maps in the new Nigerian Google Maps, showing his favorite places, commented: “Google Maps is going to be incredibly useful for Nigerians, and My Maps is a creative and easy feature that anyone can use to create a personalized map depicting places that they’re interested in, to share with others.”

Google Maps in your pocket:

Information on streets, addresses and local businesses and services will now be accessible via your mobile phone when you’re on the road or in places you don’t know. Google Maps for mobile can be downloaded for free at www.google.com/mobile/maps/. With this tool, users will be able to access detailed maps of 32 African countries (30 launching today, plus South Africa and Kenya where Maps is already available) and the world on the go.

Advertising free online without the need for a website:

Google Maps is the perfect product for local businesses: information is available to users and customers who are currently seeking products or services in your area. Companies can now enter for free information about their business, including their address, hours of operation, phone number and photo, and they can also place ads on Google Maps even if they don’t have their own website. Users have the option to make searches for companies with similar business in a neighborhood, both via PC or mobile phone – and then they can access provided links and contact details to the respective services. For more info, see maps.google.com/lbc.

Update the Map yourself:

With Google Map Maker, any user can locate, draw, label and create attributes for local map features, such as roads, parks, or rivers, turning local users into “citizen cartographers”. You can join in and update the map yourself by visiting www.google.com/mapmaker.

Build and share your own My Maps:

Create personalized, annotated, customized maps using the My Maps feature on Google Maps. My maps can contain placemarks, lines, shapes, text, photos or videos enabling users to share diverse information with family and friends – from favorite campsites to photos and videos of a holiday or roadtrip. To construct the maps you can also use more sophisticated methods such as maps with advanced content (mapplet) using JavaScript or Google Maps. Check out some My Maps created by Nigerian, Kenyan and South African celebrities:

Maps for Developers:

Google also provides APIs for Google Maps to help programmers, webmasters and designers to incorporate the functionality of Google Maps on their sites and develop new services based on local information. Today Google will be holding workshops for students and developers at Lagos University.

About Google

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.