Google Does More with Maps and Graphs in Kenya

Google has improved the content on Kenya’s Open Date initiative allowing over 31,000 primary and 6,900 secondary schools to be searchable via Google Maps for Kenya.

The new contents include maps and graphs. This follows Google’s announcement early last year that it accommodatedthousands of Kenyan government documents into Google Books including Kenyan Gazette publications.

The move will see businesses, students, researchers and journalists bring data to life through visualization or draw comparisons with other datasets as well as share them from anywhere across the globe, according to Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist and Denis Gikunda, Content & Localization Programs, Google Africa.

“Having layer of educational points of interest online adds value to the user: mapped schools are critical for urban development, navigation, and logistical planning by the electoral bodies,” Google said.

Users can add unlisted institutions on the map using Google Map Maker, a tool that useful for adding and updating geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth.

With the Open data Initiative, Google has partnered with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The two have partnered to offer statistic documentation through aweb portal adding to the effort the Kenyan government has taken ensure some of its data is shared publicly and freely.

Kenya is the second country in Africa, after Morocco, to have an open data made public by the government aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in institutional operations. In April 2010, the United Kingdom’s open data initiative registered 3,241 data sets. The US has also successfully implementedopen data initiatives.

Several applications have since been developed around the open data including charts and PDF documents. Startups includingEduWeb,MedAfrica,Msema Kweli,Upande Limited have also used open data.

“We are 85% there, being in operation for 7 months. There have been complaints about the data not being fully there but data collection is an ongoing thing,” Linet Kwamboka, of Kenya Open Data told HumanIPO:

Google attributes the project to efforts by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya Open Data Initiative and Kenya ICT Board.

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