Google finalises first phase of mapping Kisumu businesses


Part of Kisumu City skyline as seen from the Kisumu Port in Lake Victoria. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Kisumu County has completed the first phase of mapping and assigning homes, businesses and social amenities in the lake city online addresses.

The county carried out the mapping exercise in partnership with Google Plus Codes, which has created a comprehensive system of locating properties to ease navigation around the lakeside city.

Plus Code solutions and market lead Jacqueline Rajuai said 22,000 buildings had been identified and labelled on the search engine’s maps platform.

“The unique address system uses Google Plus Codes and makes it easy for anyone with an Android device to navigate the city and find the accurate location for places that don’t have streets or roads,” she said.

The Plus Codes live was showcased to the delegation attending the Ninth Africities Summit, which is ongoing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.

Ms Rajuai disclosed that Google had extended the programme to Mbale, Luanda, Majengo, Mudete and Chavakali in Vihiga County, where it had mapped 20,000 addresses.

A Plus Code is a simple code consisting of letters and numerals combined with a location.

Ms Rajuai indicated that the second phase to start next month would cover 60,000 more properties in Kisumu.

Kisumu governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the digital addresses would ease service delivery in the city and open up e-commerce opportunities.

“The smart city of the future must incorporate technology in all aspects of life. That is why we need Plus Codes in a city like Kisumu,” said the governor.

Given the inefficiency of Kenya’s addressing system, Ms Rajuai noted that the completion of the project would ease access to densely populated areas.

“We are also seeking the partnership of e-economy and other courier companies to be able to easily deliver their products to customers,” she said.

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