Technology

The Merits of Plus Codes on Google Maps

Plus codes - cfamedia

Just a few days ago, I was to receive a package from the lady that sells printed t-shirts. I paid for the home delivery and waited to get a visit to my house with the delivery.

I got non. Why? The delivery man found it difficult locating my street, let alone my house.

In essence, it is not strange to find some streets unnamed, or some areas unknown. Well, they are known, but only by people that live around the area. To others, they are not just identifiable.

To avoid stories like the one I relayed above, Google Maps recently introduced Plus Codes on Androids.

Of course, there are other benefits from this new development. While we will be looking at them subsequently, it is important to drop facts about Plus Codes.

Plus Codes, which go way back to 2015, are simple and easy to use digital addresses, derived from latitude and longitude coordinates.

David Martin, Director of Program Management, Google Maps has explained it as a “simple alphanumeric code, which can be combined with a locality, (for example: FWM8+V9, Ibadan, Nigeria). They look like a regular address, but with a shortcode where a street name, or number would be. ”

In order words, when you share this code with anyone and they search for it on Google Maps, or Google Search, it is easier to locate an address.

Benefits

Logistics businesses and postal services would find these codes useful, in navigating unidentifiable addresses.

All the customers need to do is, send across their codes and it becomes easier to get their packages and messages to them.

Developers could take advantage of plus codes, in their applications. According to Google Maps, the feature is open for users to incorporate in their applications.

Using these codes, it is easier to get to people with emergency cases. The codes could help emergency personnel get to people quickly.

Personally, these codes could, also serve as guides, when in need of directions. This invariably could help ensure individuals’ safety.

Another beautiful thing about the feature is that plus codes can be accessed offline.

Concerns

While Plus Codes hold unending benefits, ranging from aiding governments and businesses to running households smoothly, there are a few concerns.

Real Words Versus Random Characters

A similar app with a feature as the plus codes by Google Maps – what3words – makes use of three dictionary words to point out a location, instead of the random characters Google maps plus codes offer.

In essence, it is way easier to remember three words explaining that you are around a relief camp, than remembering FWM8+V9.

This is one major difference, between using what3words and plus codes, by Google Maps.

Underutilization

As much as we have a lot of Android users. As much as governments and businesses can leverage on these codes to scale up things for themselves.

What about the demography that not only do not know about plus codes but cannot afford to leverage on it?

You can think up different scenarios from the above.

How does plus codes benefit the not-so-literates? In countries like India and Nigeria where illiteracy rates are up to 35% of the total population, how much utilization can take place?

How can people without Androids take advantage of the benefits of these codes?

How effective is this feature in rural areas, where we may be needing the feature more?

While Plus Codes by Google Maps holds numerous benefits, these are concerns we may want to, also consider.


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About the author

Sylvia Eguzoro

A graduate of Philosophy looking to delve into the world of business and technology.

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