One of the basic buildign blocks of an internet based consumer business boom is a good mapping infrastructure. All of our logistics within the country would be super-simple if we had a computerized satellite map to perform route planning on. Many consumer services also build directly on top of mapping.
It depends on the availability of detailed satellite imagery of the country. If we have that, the image processing and GIS on top of it is intuitive. A tiny look at what we have in Pakistan:
In short, the satellite images released to the public in Pakistan are 3-meter accurate (i.e. 1 pixel on screen = 3 meters on the ground), and this is what you see if you look at, say Islamabad in Google Earth. PRDS has built a GIS overlay on this resolution, and this is used by Trakker to provide GSM tracking services for your car, and is also used by a number of logistics companies for fleet management.
But you need a 1-meter resolution in order to get good navigation for consumers — these maps are available at the Survey of Pakistan, but have not yet been released to the public.
Well, good news. You dont need them maps to create a good consumer navigation solution.
Check out this company eDuShi (Chinese for ‘eCity’). They are busy creating accurate close-up 3D models for all popular cities in China, offering navigation services on it.
What’s even better, they show ‘billboard ads’ in those city models exactly where real-life billboards exist, and are using that revenue from ad sales to make the service free for consumers. Brilliant!
The company is two years old, with 180 employees now, and has had $500,000 in funding.
This is the solution that would be great now and today for Pakistan, and I dont see why a 3rd or 4th year college student cannot afford the time to build atleast Lahore and Islamabad. He can then spend the next decade building up Karachi.
Any entreprenuer-in-planning up for it? Anyone?