Google launches Maps for Kenya


Nairobi 31st March 2009

As of today new detailed maps of many Kenyan towns including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru are accessible on Google Maps through any web browser or via Google Maps for mobile on data enabled handsets. The new service means that Google Maps users will now be able to search up to date online maps, look up businesses, advertise for free via Google Maps Local Business Centre, create their own maps and even check locations while they’re on the move.

The map data includes a substantial amount of user generated content provided via Google Map Maker as well as thousands of business listings for the wider Nairobi area including more than 50 favorite spots of a number of Kenyan celebrities including Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize Winner), Julie Gichuru (TV Presenter), Churchill (Comedian) and Humphrey Kayange (Kenya Rugby 7’s Team Captain).

Google Maps in Kenya can be viewed in several ways. The Map button shows the traditional map view, ideal for finding an address or planning directions from A to 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 (the hills and mountains). This button is a great choice if you’re heading out to the countryside.

Joe Mucheru, Google’s East Africa Lead said:

‘We’re very excited about the launch today and we hope this is just the beginning for Google Maps in Kenya. Google Maps isn’t just searchable digitized maps helping you to find a local place, service or product – our goal 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 help efforts to bolster tourism and business investment.’

Julie Gichuru, TV Presenter who created one of the first My Maps in Kenya showing her favorite places, commented:

‘Google Maps in Kenya is a real leap ahead for us. It will open up the country by creating greater understanding of the socio economic situation in the different regions.’

KenyaBuzz is already making use of the Google Maps API on their website. Marta Anna Gloserova from Kenyabuzz said:

“KenyaBuzz provides an online resource for local event information and business listings in Kenya. Google Maps serves as a great platform helping us to provide accurate, comprehensive location-based information for our audience.”

Mr. Kimosop from the Mid-Rift Tourism Forum added:

“The Mid-Rift Tourism Forum strives to promote tourism in Kenya and seeks to contribute to increased employment and incomes for host communities. Adding tourism locations on Google Maps creates a free marketing channel and will drive more people to our website and ultimately to the tourist locations”

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 places you don’t know. Google Maps for mobile can be downloaded for free at www.google.co.ke/ With this tool, users will be able to access detailed maps of Kenya and the world on the go.

Advertising free online without the need for a web site:

Google Maps is the perfect product for local businesses: information is available to users and customers who are currently seeking products or services in your area. Companies can now enter for free information about their business, including their address, hours of operation, phone number and photo, and they can also place ads on Google Maps even if they don’t have their own website. Users have the option to make searches for companies with similar business in a neighborhood, both via PC or mobile phone – and then they can access provided links and contact details to the respective services.

Update the Map yourself:

A substantial amount of data in Kenya has been provided via our Map Maker product. Google Map Maker allows users to locate, draw, label and provide attributes for local map features, such as roads, parks, or rivers, turning local users into “citizen cartographers.” You can join in and update the map yourself by visiting http://www.google.com/mapmaker

Build and share your own My Maps:

Create personalized, annotated, customized maps using the My Maps feature on Google Maps. My maps can contain placemarks, lines, shapes, text, photos or videos enabling users to share diverse information with family and friends – from favorite campsites to photos and videos of a holiday or roadtrip. To construct the maps you can also use more sophisticated methods such as maps with advanced content (mapplet) using JavaScript or Google Maps. Check out some My Maps created by Kenyan celebrities:

Julie Gichuru:

Humphrey Kayange: http://maps.google.com/maps/msie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=101714549577099808720.0004661a2387c1eb43550

Churchill: http://maps.google.com/maps/msie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110797188130150736442.00046619c72aced8832be

Wangari Maathai: http://maps.google.com/maps/msie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=108947990450612042163.0004661a342fe04a0b0ef >

Maps for Developers:

Google also provides APIs for Google Maps to help programmers, webmasters and designers to incorporate the functionality of Google Maps on their sites and develop new services based on local information. Today Google will be holding workshops for students and developers at Nairobi University.

About Google:

Google’s mission is to make the world’s information universally available and useful. By 2010, there will be over 1 billion people in Africa and we are committed to helping increase the flow of information throughout Africa by getting businesses online and by providing relevant online services platforms that enable local content development and innovation. We established our office in Kenya in 2007 so that we can better understand the market and offer products that meet the needs of local users.

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  1. chimera
    October 28, 2009 at 8:47 am — Reply

    Am developing an android application that is supposed to give directions whenever you are in Nairobi and tell you your current location
    but it gets the maps from the internet and it works just fine
    Now i was wondering is it possible to have the maps locally available in your phone (have them in my application before packaging)?

  2. […] the same time WhereCampAfrica Nairobi was held, Google went on to launch Google MapMaker in Kenya. A service that let ordinary people or people with specialized knowledge to create their own maps […]

  3. Nic
    November 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm — Reply

    Google Maps work fine in Kenya, even on my cheapish Samsung Monte (£90) I am able to find out where I am in Kenya via Google Maps as long as I have access o the internet. One can also tell where a friend/family member is using Google Latitude, wonderful technology!

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