Issue 6, 2011. December-January

   

GEORGIA ON GOOGLE MAPS

Georgia on Google maps www.maps.google.com will make the country more accessible for businesses and travelers alike. The data, collected by JumpStart - an NGO in Georgia, is being used to create user-friendly maps for everything from streets to water supplies and bus routes.


Georgia is no longer just a white spot on Google, thanks to JumpStart, a Tbilisi-based NGO. JumpStart launched the project in February 2010. With the help of approximately a thousand volunteers, the team was able to create a "comprehensive e-map", according to David Gogishvili, the Geographic Information System analyst and project manager at JumpStart.

He said that they initially did not plan to send the data to Google maps, and only decided to following a meeting with Google in San Francisco during the ‘Where 2.0' conference.

"Google did not use all of the data that we sent them... out of 30,000 objects that we provided, only some are placed on ‘Google maps'," noted Gogishvili. He added that while some villages and small settlements are not included in the Google version, all the information is accessible at mapspot.ge.

Georgia on Google maps represents an additional source of information for foreigners. They can learn more about cities and villages in Georgia, plan their trips more easily, choose their desired means of transportation and find the most appropriate routes.

Google maps also opens up new possibilities for businesses, allowing them to place themselves on the map so potential clients can find them more easily. Developers can prepare different applications using ‘Google Maps API' that provides a programming interface.

In addition, JumpStart is using the mapping data to make other types of information more accessible. There are three new projects including. ‘OpenTaps' - an initiative to make it easy to use thedatabase for information relating to water supply.; MapSpot 2.0, an upgraded version of MapSpot online which will include bus routes and street numbers. In addition, the data is being used to support TbiliCity - an access to information project funded by JumpStart together with Open Society Institute.