GHfind Database to Include GhanaPostGPS Addresses (where applicable)
In 2017 Ghana Post, i.e. Ghana's national postal service, launched an initiative known as GhanaPostGPS. The system is more or less based on Google Maps. And all things considered, I guess the easiest way to describe it is as being the same as Google Maps, i.e. online users being able to look up and find distinct locations in the country using a similar type of layout.
But there are two major difference, one positive and one negative, if you will. The positive is that respective Ghanaian locations are assigned what is known as a digital address. From what I've seen, they tend to be between 11 and 12 digits' long, and that format is exponentially simpler and easier to share than a Google Maps' URL.
|A GhanaPostGPS (digital) address is formatted
like the one pictured in the image above.
The downside is that, unlike Google Maps, with GhanaPostGPS for the most part you cannot search for locations by name. This is more or less understandable, because it is meant to serve as a general-addressing system, encompassing not only businesses but also residences. But another logical reason Google Maps is more comprehensive is of course because, despite being a Western product, it is more widely used here in GH - and so it tends to be in Africa.
I applaud GhanaPostGPS for two reasons. At the top of the list is the fact that the government actually made an attempt to do something like this. And one thing I learned from working on GHfind is that despite how noble-minded an idea may be, people need to actually support it in order for it to catch on.
And that brings me to the second reason why I think this initiative is a sound one in theory, which is the simple fact that most residences out here don't have a street address. So now, you're seeing more and more popup with these digital addresses instead.
|A digital address, as ascribed by GhanaPostGPS, is a prerequisite
for receiving the increasingly-ubiquitous Ghanacard.
I can understand how the likes of privacy advocates may have issues with putting the country further online like this, and I also acknowledge the fact that, in some ways, the digitization of Ghana is occurring at a more profound rate than even some First World countries. But if you're someone who actually uses GhanaPostGPS and are going to a hard-to-find location that has as digital address, this service should definitely make things easier.
So recently, I've also began documenting the digital addresses to companies included in the GHfind database (for newer entries primarily), when such information is readily available. This is the string which, upon some search results, will turn up text formatted like the digital address highlighted above. However, clicking on those links in the GHfind search results will not take to the GhanaPostGPS app. Rather, it will display the location of the establishment as captured on Google Maps.
GhanaPostGPS is a government initiative and therefore, by the looks of things, is here to stay. Moreover, a lot of people, even here in GH, rely on Google to get around. So hopefully, providing this information through GHfind will help make it easier to locate associated businesses.