This is my epistle..My Journey as a Google Local guide.
Now picture this. That moment you embarked on a solo trip to a destination you are looking to be at for the very first time on the strength of just mere House or street address not in a developed or first world nation but a third world country like Nigeria whose road network, buildings and infrastructure are frequently undergoing development hence there are constant changes in scenery that even the brightest satellite geo-location images could be wrong from time to time due to these changes. This had been the advent of cases and peoples plight when going from place to place especially places you have not been to or places you seldom visit in Sub-Saharan cities like Ashanti, Kano and Lagos.
In a society that is fast adopting the use of Technology proffered from the use of smart phones and Android devices. How do we solve this enigma of getting proper directions to places or descriptions of these places ?
Well it did be the Google Maps surely! right?
The impacts and revolutionary effect the Google map is having on a fast growing population and human congested country like Nigeria is nothing but colossal in terms of connecting people to places they did like to go with little or zero experience of the place before hand is just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!
To even go further is the introduction of the Google Local guides! The idea of on-site individuals helping Google to better understand the clime they currently reside in by taking pictures and answering reviews of places around them or places they have been to is MASSIVE! in all sense of the word. As it leverages on Google Map Technology and constantly iterated data that we local guides have been contributing to places we are close to.
For those who might be wondering who Google Local Guides are?
local guide is a community driven program where you help people in Google especially Google Map in adding and modifying and reviewing places closest to you. Also adding or reviewing places you had visit and in return you get a lot of benefits based on your contribution.
What drew my attention towards the Google Local guides community stemmed from an experience I had in navigating my way towards a particular destination, it was a city in Nigeria I had been to years ago when I was about nine years old, It was my Grand mother’s House.. Ibadan was the name of the City she reside in while I stayed in Urban Lagos and Schooled at Abeokuta, Ogun state. I had lost my way, cause the location address wasn’t clear enough. As a Tech savvy guy, I stumbled on Google search from my inquiry more insights was suggested to me via the Maps which then led me to see local pictures of the community around me. This was fascinating at first cause it was my first experience viewing pictures of my surroundings on the Google Map, lucky for me My Grandma’s shop from years back were part of the surroundings that was captured from the local guide’s camera. My heart jumped for joy at discovering her House, she herself was amazed that I could locate her address after so many years of not visiting and with no guidance from my biological parents.
The experience prompted my curiosity and overall engagement with the Google Local guide community. My first Contribution as a guide was during my visit to Olumo Rock, a Tourist attraction to many observers and tourist from all over the world. The mystical mountain served as protective habitat for citizens of Egba during the Egba Vs Idahomey war, centuries ago. It was a swell experience at this Tourist center. I then learn that the name of the City “ABEOKUTA” meaning “under the Rock” was gotten from the activity of ancient Egba people taking refuge under the rock during the time of war. I took pictures of the places they hide during the time of war.
My experience with the Google Local guides community has been a thrilling one. The idea that one can actually help thousands, millions if not billions of people all over the world in knowing more about your local community with little effort is really a problem solving endeavor and Amazing experience.
One of my major Goal this year as a local guide contributor did be to unlock new places and add them to the map in form of reviews and pictures of the latest locality I have come acrossed. I am looking to get to at least reach level 10 as a Google guide contributor before the end of 2019. Wish me luck!
Also looking forward to Connect Live 2019 where local guide contributors from diverse cultures and tribes from all over the world come together to share our experiences as well as brainstorm on new and creative ways on how we can uniquely contribute to the Map and putting our community on the Map of the world. I am really..really looking forward to all the Amazing people that are behind helping Google make the world a Global-Village in the real sense of the word. See y’all