The GhanaPostGPS, the app at the heart of the National Property Addressing System, has been downloaded more than half a million times a year after it was launched.
Statistics from the Ghana Post Company indicate that as of August this year, about 7.5 million people also used the app to search for locations in the country since its launch on October 18, 2017.
The Corporate Communications Manager of the company, Kobi Hemaa Osisiadan-Bekoe, told the Daily Graphic that the downloads were expected to increase as the National Identification Authority (NIA) had made the digital address a prerequisite for registration of Ghanaians for the country’s citizenship identification card—the Ghana Card.
She said the company had also collaborated with the Electricity Company of Ghana to generate 700,000 addresses for the utility provider’s meters while it was in discussions with the Ghana Water Company for similar projects.
The system, Mrs Osisiadan-Bekoe explained, was far different from Google Map as it gave specific digits as a digital address unlike Google Map which provided latitudes and longitudes.
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She said the company had embarked on house-to-house campaigns to explain the usefulness of the system while addressing concerns, including that of security.
The system is a global addressing system which divides Ghana into grids of 5m x 5m squares and assigns each one a unique address, known as a digital address. With this system, every land and property gets a permanent address.
President Akufo-Addo, at the launch of the system, described it as the dawn of a new era when Ghanaians would no longer use landmarks to give directions and locate property.
He said the digital address system would also help transform the economy because of its multi-faceted benefits.
However, the launch of the system designed by VOKACOM, a Ghanaian information technology firm, which was meant to make it easier for locations to be found across the country and boost emergency service delivery, was met with a political backlash particularly from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Mrs Osisiadan-Bekoe said the company was working on how to tap on the emergency section to get the attention of the emergency services, adding that: “We are still working on it but calling the emergency services and sharing your digital address will help them drive straight to where you are.”
She said some private security companies had made the digital address part of their operation to the extent that “when the alarm is tampered with in a house, the digital address of that house pops up as the location in their (security company’s) office.
So when you are going to register with them, they ask for your digital address.
They know that for rapid response, it is the digital address that will easily lead them there”.
Ghana Post business
With the postal business of the Ghana Post biting dust because of the internet era, the company was optimistic at the time of the launch of the system that it would help revive the parcel delivery business.
In that regard, Mrs Osisiadan-Bekoe said the system had helped improve the company’s business since for the first time since 2012, the company had recorded a 25 per cent increase in its revenue.
“By August this year, we had done more than 10,000 parcel deliveries using the digital addresses of customers,” she said, adding that the days its field staff returned parcels because they could not find the addresses were nearly over.
While some members of the public have applauded the app for its efficiency, others say it needs extra work to meet the standard.
“For me, I think the best use of this app has been its precision when you share the direction with courier service providers.
I have used it a number of times and the rider did not struggle to come to my area which has no street name,” Ms Joan Boahemaa, a resident of Agbogba in Accra, told the Daily Graphic.
However, it is not everyone who is impressed with the app.
Others also said they expected the app to incorporate the new municipalities and districts but they did not show on the app.