As of today, new detailed maps of many South African cities and towns, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and East London, are accessible on Google Maps through any web browser or via Google Maps for Mobile on data enabled handsets. Although already available in South Africa, the map data has been improved dramatically and is now available with additional features. In addition to searching online Maps, Google Maps users will now be able to find businesses and check driving directions. Businesses will be able to add their own business listings for free via Google Maps Local Business Centre.
The map data includes a substantial amount of user generated content provided via Google Map Maker as well as thousands of business listings for South African cities. The new maps also include ‘My Maps’ and hotspots of a number of South African artists and experts such as music favourites Freshlyground and Thandiswa Mazwai, and designer Desre Buirski.
Google Maps in South Africa can be viewed in several ways. The “Map” button shows the traditional map view, ideal for ﬁnding an address or planning directions between points A and 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 (such as hills and mountains). This button is a great choice if you’re heading out into the countryside.
Stephen Newton, country manager for Google South Africa said:
“Google Maps is an valuable addition to the list of products that we’re launching specifically for South Africans, given the market’s importance to us. Google Maps isn’t only about searchable, digitized maps helping you to find a local place, service or product. Our goal with Maps 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 bolster tourism and business investment.”
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 areas you don’t know. Google Maps for Mobile can be downloaded for free. With this tool, users will be able to access detailed maps of South Africa and the world whilst on the go.
Shaun Kirk, Head of Marketing, Samsung Mobile, said, “Samsung is delighted to be partnering with Google to bring Google Maps for Mobile to South Africans. It means you can literally carry your city around in your pocket, and access information at any time you like, be it about businesses, restaurants or other services, whilst you’re on the road or in an unfamiliar area.”
Also commenting on Google Maps for Mobile, Romeo Kumalo, Executive Director: Commercial of Vodacom South Africa, said, “Being able to access Google Maps for Mobile is a great step forward, not only for finding your way around and organising your day-to-day life, but also for businesses to take advantage of the opportunities to showcase themselves to mobile users in time for 2010”.
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