Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nokia Maps Nigeria Review

Recently, there has been a media blitz by Nokia and Garmap, both different companies on the introduction of GPS and local maps in Nigeria.
I never gave it much thought until I started seeing huge Nokia billboards advertising this and asking people to go to maps.nokia.com
So I went online and trawled through this site looking for something related to Nigeria.
I clicked on world, selected Africa and it only listed about 8 African countries with maps and a link for non-navigable countries. Nigeria was listed as non-navigable.
What the heck was Nokia talking about?
I was so pissed that I called a friend that worked with Nokia and ranted that his company were mega frauds.
We laugh over it and he tells me to go here.
And so, I do.
Apparently, only a few Nokia phones support this maps thingy. Amongst the few is the popular E71. This phone is one of the most popular phones in Nigeria. Lagos at least. So popular that its now being called "pure water" (named after cheap nylon wrapped water sold everywhere in the country for N5 - N10 /8c) And it costs N50,000 - $320!

I download the Nokia sync application and Maps setup and loader file to my laptop and sync to my phone. Encountered one issue but the website was helpful resolving this.
Voila! Its up and running.

Google Earth for me, was mind blowing when it hit pc's a few years ago.
However the maps for Nigeria was not exactly on par. It was pretty good for some parts of Lagos and Kano, I think, but most parts of Nigeria were not street mapped. And the street names were largely inaccurate. Also, huge clouds blocked out large swaths of Lagos

Nokia maps beta 3.0 is awesome.
It totally rocks!
At least, as far as Lagos is concerned.
I have been using it for about 2 days now and it works pretty well.
You do need your network's 3G or gprs network to download the voice for directions and even some of the maps apparently. However, you can get free WiFi hotspots at some locations in town.
The street maps, so far have been accurate.
The GPS positioned me automatically at my exact location. Though it kept tripping off.
The satellite view gives you pictures of the actual building. I was able to locate and see my office on Lagos Island and my parents home in Aguda, Surulere. I could even see the cars in the mechanic workshop next to my parents home!

Now I know outside the country, this is very much common place.
For us here, it is novel. Very novel.

So this morning, I tried using the directions to get to work and it did a very good job.
The route it chose for me was not exactly the best so I ignored it and made another turn and the nice "britico" female voice said "recalculating route". It went ahead to recalculate the route I was going to use. It even tracked the one-way streets and routed me accordingly. It picks up the churches, restaurants, fast food joints and even filling stations. Too cool!

Garmap, based on their website, charges N10,000 for their maps.
So far, Nokia looks free. But I think I only have a 7-day navigation license. After that, I'd see what options are available. Hopefully cheaper than Garmap.

Vera's radio blog was excellent last Tuesday.
Had the opportunity to talk and chat with GNG, DiamondHawk, Funmie, Queen Vee, Miz Cynic, Naijadude (I think) and a lot more. Bagucci made a cameo appearance but his line cut off. A lot of them stayed on after the radio show to chat on. Me, I had to go snooze. It was 12 midnight on a work day in Naija.

Kachifo
Posted by at 11:23 am |  
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