- Google Nigeria recently organised a two-day training tour of Abuja for social media influencers
- The aim of the trip tagged #AbujaWithGoogleMaps was to expose the participants to how best to use the application
- Apart from being taught how to properly use the app, the social media influencers were also made to feel the cultural heritage of the people of Abuja
A vast majority of Nigerians who are tech-savvy are quite familiar with the use of google maps to navigate their ways through difficult (maybe unfamiliar) routes, but not many are aware of the benefits that may come from doing same.
To cushion this effect and spread the word about the proper use of google maps, Google Nigeria organized a two-day tour of Abuja for Lagos-based social media influencers to practically use the app (in an unfamiliar terrain) and see their limitations, but that was not all the trip was about. The rich culture of the people of Abuja was also on display during this journey.
During this trip which was attended by Legit.ng’s Damilare Okunola, not only was the importance of constant review of places visited emphasized, it was also revealed that this consistency could fetch a local guide (which could be anybody) an all-expenses paid trip to San Francisco, USA.
Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, West Africa, Google, set the ball rolling after receiving his guests at the expansive Summerset Continental Hotel, Usuma Abuja, where he explained the nitty-gritty of the visit and the modalities.
The first point of call during this visit was the Millennium Park sitting pretty on 32 hectares of land in Maitama area of Abuja. The park built and commissioned in 2003 is the largest public park in the nation’s capital and is open to family hangouts and picnics.
More than two thousand (2,000) people who have visited (and dropped a review) since its inception could not help but give the beautiful park massive 5-Star ratings after their experience.
Among the beauties preserved in Abuja is the Thought Pyramid Art Centre which houses paintings of popular Nigerian painters and artists. A visit to this place gave a first hand feel of the cultural heritage of the people of Abuja, as we were welcomed by a local dance troupe.
On the sideline, the experience with the use of google maps in Abuja revealed quite a number of open secrets.
First off, Google Map gives a visitor an option of selecting a wide variety of places near them in case they’re not sure of how to locate such places. Apart from this, one can become a local guide by simply downloading the app, posting reviews as well as photos about places visited.
One of the importance of posting reviews and photos is just so that those who are willing to visit will have a prior knowledge of where they are planning to visit and the photos will help them see (at a glance) what the place looks like.
Another important, yet uncommon feature with the google map is a series of digits and alphabets called 'plus code'. Unlike the usual way of writing the address or name of a place, once a person locates the plus code, you could input it in the search column and it will navigate to the address that is attached to it.
The more reviews and photos shared, the higher the ranking of the local guide. For instance, Legit.ng correspondent (as at the time of compiling this) was already on level four, having only started barely a week ago.
And according to Kola-Ogunlade, all level 10 local guides have their conference in San Francisco every year and it is “an all-expenses paid trip".
After the visit to the art centre where each member of the team painted a google doodle of their choice, the train moved to the Usafa pottery in Bwari area of the federal capital, where the local and modern ways of making clay pots were put on display. Some of the visiting guys even tried their hands on the mould.
Next stop was the IBB Golf Course on Udi Hill, and this proved yet again, to be an exciting adventure for the journalists and social media guru who were not only taken through series of exercises, but were made to compete briefly. And that almost about ended the major activities for the day.
Again, after the visit to the lush green and beautifully sited sports centre, the traveling guys were made to write their reviews about the golf course and their experience, especially since most of them were only just visiting for the very first time.
The karaoke and games at the Cube Cafe (also in Usuma) much later in the evening eased up the stress of moving from one activity to another, but the next day was even more tasking and eventful than the previous day.
The effective use of the google map with the plus code options were brought to test for the next activity, as all the participants were split into six groups of four each and asked to locate one place after the other using the map as well as some clues that were picked up at the next destination the clue led to.
It was at this point that some of the journalists discovered that the use of the google maps required much more skills than they thought. While some teams could not find their way round in spite of the directions given by the map, some were just tuned in with the application and navigated their ways quite easily.
Needless to say, as at the time everyone gathered at the final meeting point, more team members had added to their knowledge of how exactly google map works. Mission accomplished!
"I have been using google maps for years, but this is the first time I am really using it this way. It tasked my brain a little bit at the beginning, but I can say boldly that I am better off after this training," one of the participants said, while trying to catch his breathe after the scavengers' hunt.
Other activities such as paintballing and gocarting followed, but the real essence of the two-day tour of Abuja using the google maps had been achieved.
So, while it is fun searching for and locating places using the google maps, it could be more fun if writing reviews and posting photos of places visited is done 'religiously', as it will yield positively.