Google Maps for Pakistan, How they Work – A Review

I read an article about Google Maps last year on ProPakistani. Recently I used the latest version 3.0 of Google maps for mobiles phones. It has come with the new improved additions which consist of many cool features like, Google Latitude, Street Views, and Map Views etc.

In Pakistan a common man has no access to Satellite GPS based system but Google’s Innovation has changed all that, now a person in Pakistan can use Google Maps and have a taste of Assisted GPS (A-GPS). Google Maps supports GPS enabled phones, especially

  • Blackberry
  • Windows Mobile
  • Symbian S60
  • Java
  • Palm

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Google Maps on a phone can: – (As Described on Official Google Web Site)

  • Determine your current location with or without GPS
  • Get driving and transit directions
  • Get phone numbers and addresses for local businesses

Version 3.0 Consists of Following Improvements:

Google Latitude is recently added in this version and its has following features

  1. User can sign in with his/her Google account and can add friends
  2. Can see the friends location in a real time
  3. Can set his/her own location manually

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How to install Google Maps

Please note that Google Maps is a data hungry software, so make sure that you have Unlimited GPRS package or otherwise you are ready to pay heavy for this.

We assume that your mobile phone is GPRS enable and activated, simply point your net browser on mobile phone to this url : m.google.com/maps

Download the application and install it. You are done, simple open Google Maps (by going into application folder)

What Pakistani Users can see and Experience with Google Maps on their Mobile Phones

For Pakistan the scenario is different here we can find the location In a real time view but, the traffic directions and addresses are missing most of the times, so one must be familiar with the real time image of a location so that we can identify that where we are exactly.

Mostly images (maps) of most of the Pakistani Cities and Places are outdates, as they were taken back in 2003, and one may feel some differences now in the maps.

However, major cities’ maps are updates while, Karachi is the Most Updated city of Pakistan in the Google Maps.

We can edit and add locations and roads in the Google Maps now, but still it will take long time or an extra ordinary effort by volunteers to edit or add locations in the Pakistani Maps. Some how Many Big Cities of Pakistan has Street Addresses and directions which is a good sign.

Below is what you can see and experience on your Mobile Phone.

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This is a view of Lahore in Map Add/Edit option of Google (Many Users are adding Places day by day)

A blue Spot identifies the location of the user



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How Google Maps Works for Pakistani Users

The technique that Google uses to work out location is actually the same one that any GPS device uses: triangulation.
How it works: When Latitude turns on, it automatically tries to reach any available GPS satellite, cell tower or Wi-Fi access point (AP). Once it establishes three or more links, it starts working out location.

Google has a database of CELL Towers in Pakistan and with the help of cell towers it identifies the location of the user in a real time, approximately location is sometimes accurate to about 10 to 20 meters and sometimes up to 3000 to 4000 meters, depending upon the cell tower data it is using. Together, these tens of millions of fixed locations give Latitude the grid it needs to work out your location.

The position is approximately to accurate in cities in Pakistan due to the usage of multiple Cell Towers, and on Highways it may be in a range of 3000 to 4000 meters due to less number of towers available.

If our mobile device is using multiple cell towers, you can get accuracy of 100-meter circle. While in rural areas with less towers around, you may find 3000 meters accuracy or even more.

Many variables can interfere with our accuracy, however. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules on determining how accurate Latitude or any other Latitude Base System application will be at any given location. The devices can use up to 24 reference points to work out the location.

The mobile device doesn’t have the CPU horsepower to work that out. It takes the raw data and transmits it via a GSM, GPRS to an assistance server. This technique is called A-GPS (assisted GPS). Your mobile device works together with the server to plot out your location.

And this is the important part for Latitude: Since the assistance server has the results of the calculation, it’s easy to share your position with anyone else that uses Latitude and has your permission to see your location.