Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Google Maps: Can you find a better Travel assistant than this?

 
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Destination: On route to Lingbinsi in North Gonja District of the Northern Region of Ghana.
What for? Well, I will let you know in a bit. First, let me get this off my chest.

In Ghana, getting directions around are poor. So poor! It is only in Ghana that local food vendors’ kiosks or tables are better landmarks than public buildings. It is common to hear this: “Go straight. Then left, you will see the Dokono wura (the Kenkey seller) there, ask anyone around for…”. Near and far are 2 words that are used interchangeably here. It’s a Ghana thing though since even foreigners who have lived in the country long enough are culprits.

So back to my story. It all begun about 2 months prior when I met Samira on Facebook. Am not a social media stalker, don’t even begin to think that. Actually, I should say, it is Samira who found me by liking a comment of mine. And I am glad she did.  As they say, one thing led to another until finally, I had to do the manly thing and visit her in her parents'' house in far away Lingbinsi.

An expedition was about to unfold. But, something major was off. During the early mouth-rapping stage of the relationship, I had bragged about working at Jumia Travel and visiting every corner of Ghana and Africa except of course her house (I would have otherwise discovered that damsel already). Her mum was very interested in the relationship. Afterall, a son-in-law who travels here and there is a gold investment worth making.

Truthfully, however, I have lived and studied in Accra my whole life. It wasn’t that I didn’t know Lingbinsi or the North. It was that, I didn’t know anywhere outside Accra and sadly it was now too late to admit it to them.

Friends were of no help. And the internet was vague. On a few sites that I tried, I guess their ignorance of the area surpassed mine. Until, I found a ‘crazy’ map online called Google Maps. Google Maps is an online mapping service developed by Google that provides various geometric and travel information using web-based technology.

I am not a fan of these online apps, let alone trust one to give me any accurate description of something. Nonetheless, I found a saviour in Google Map that day and I was amazed at the tremendous travel assistance it gives. It has kept me wondering if one can find a better travelling assistant than Google map. It is more than just a map and here are a few reasons why.

Google Maps & Satellite Imagery

For one Google maps is solid. It uses up-to-date technology to provide satellite imagery of almost anywhere on earth. This means that you can see images of exactly where you are going before you actually go. As long as the place has a name, Google maps will find it.

Google Maps & Street Views

Aside being able to add favourite locations and measure the distances between 2 places, Google maps lets you see images of the street view. See the historical sites, landmarks and even the store in front of your house. See all these with images taken from street level with Google maps’ Street view.
Share your location

It gets better with this app. Are you lost somewhere in town? Or do you urgently need to let someone know your whereabouts? Yes? Google Map has the key. Just share your location and let them come to you. It is like clock work with a shared location because the recipient will only have to follow the path from his/her location to yours.

View in 3D

If you think Google maps is awesome, there is more. The service allows you to view get isometric views of places. Meaning, users can go around buildings just like that. The days of being confused by look alike buildings are fading. To be sure, look around it so many times with Google Map.

Get up-to-the minute Travel info

Google Map is revolutionary. In this one service, users are fed with which buses, trains and airlines are travelling and when. Also catchy is the real time traffic update delivered by the service.  It calculates travel distance and presents the fastest routes and best transportation alternatives.

I could go on and on about my new found travel assistant. In fact, there are several more features time and space won’t allow us to discuss. But something is more pressing now. Our wedding is coming up in 3 weeks.
Thanks to Jumia Travel’s amazing hotel discounts, my dream of a honeymoon in one of the luxury hotels in Ghana will be a reality at the Zaina Lodge. All decor and reservations have also been made. Special arrangements have been made for guests from Tamale with top hotels in Tamale. Hopefully it will be a graceful ceremony.

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