Name changes makes SA mapping 'difficult'

2014-01-28 09:30
Nokia's Here Maps offer an alternative to Google's software. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Nokia's Here Maps offer an alternative to Google's software. (Duncan Alfreds, News24) (Duncan Alfreds)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Nokia Lumia 1020 review

2013-11-28 16:27

Nokia wants you to take lots of pictures -- and believes its Lumia 1020 is the ideal tool to do it. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - You're driving along an unfamiliar road, but you are relaxed because you have navigation assistance. But then, the road stops, or there's an unfamiliar name, and instantly, you're lost somewhere in South Africa.

Road name changing and changing road conditions are some of the major challenges that mapping companies in SA face.

"One of the biggest challenges here is the road name changes. We have many roads that, every month, change to different names and we have to stay up to date. We get our information from councils and municipalities and obviously driving as well," Irvin Atchison, sales director for Here Maps in Sub Sahara told News24.

Here Maps is a division of Nokia and the company has made a significant investment into independently mapping roads throughout Africa.

"It’s a complicated process: Mapping; driving is not as easy as it appears to be. In South Africa, you have a lot of roads that are simply unnamed," said Atchison.


While some South Africans may continue to use - or even prefer - older names of roads, Atchison was unapologetic about the naming process.

"Our policy is that we name the road in its official name – that's what it is, get used to it – however, the navigation system will actually navigate you to the road, irrespective of what you call it."

The company has a team of 18 vehicles that patrol South African roads, and regularly repeat trips in more populated areas to ensure accuracy.

"We have a field team and they have a schedule and they will work their way around South Africa. They will do maintenance on areas; depending on where the area is, will do Johannesburg a lot more often than Kakamas or whatever," Atchison said.

The operations work in similar manner to internet giant Google, but unlike its competitor, Here Maps for the entire country can be downloaded and used offline.

The company has also expanded into mapping roads throughout Africa, but the process is not without risk as many countries are lacking in government infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

In African countries, mapping can be a dangerous exercise. Large animals, ad hoc road blocks and closures are some of the hazards that drivers face.


"And of course, getting into Africa is another story. It's a safety issue in a lot of the northern African countries. We're a roving autobank in most countries because the guys will see us driving and come and get their coffee money; and they'll come and see you again in the afternoon and come and get their beer money, and so it goes on," said Atchison.

Google also seems to be aware of risk to its drivers and several township areas are not mapped in the company's Street View programme.

Atchison couldn't resist a swipe at Google, which admitted that its Street View cars unwittingly collected personal data over open Wi-Fi networks, suggesting that Here Maps was more sensitive to privacy than the US-based internet giant.

"We believe that we do it better, and we just have more privacy policies that we believe are more suitable to the consumer."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
- News24
Read more on:    nokia  |  internet  |  mobile

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.