Sunday, July 25, 2010

Google's Great Gap

My in-country manager, Abenaa, has found a potential place for two other GSK volunteers and me to live when we're in Kumasi. She provided us with the postal address and some references to its location ("in our prime residential area of Asokwa").  I did the first thing that came to mind when given a postal address: go to  Shock of the day: Google maps could not find the address.  (I was not alone in this thought--my fellow GSK volunteer had also tried to Google map the location with no success.)

Try this experiment: go to Google maps and type in "Asokwa, Kumasi, Ghana".  Zoom in to 2-3 clicks from the top.  Scroll around the map a bit and you'll find large sections without street names.  That's because....apologies to fellow U2 fans, but there really is a place where the streets have no name. 

Don't believe me?  Check out this article from the Ghana Embassy webpage.   The Ghanaian government has ordered all metropolitan and municipal governments to name their streets by the end of the year.  Since Google maps is only as good as its information source, when there is no information, it can't be Googled.

I told my Ghanaian co-worker, Kirby, about the inability of Google maps to find my proposed housing.  He responded with friendly laughter and the comment that this is good preparation for the changes that await me in Ghana.

No comments:

Post a Comment