Google Mapmaker helps you get Directions

Shortly after the launch of Google Mapmaker, users were given the ability to edit maps by adding roads and other markers previously uncharted, to Google Maps. And now, thanks to the awesomeness of crowdsourcing, you can use this user-generated content to get directions too.

Using the mashup, I got really simple directions from *K-Street to Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi (and no, I’m not suggesting anything here; correlation does not imply causation 🙂 )


This feature is really great because not many cities outside of North America and most of Europe are that well mapped. In many African countries, directions are given mostly based on landmarks, like a nearby building. Those proclivities will always remain and do have their place so I think this feature will serve as a great supplement. What’s more, with a 3G-enabled mobile phone, driving around could get a lot easier!

Head over to Google Mapmaker and help map your city.

*In the interest of “teh balance”, Koinange Street is Nairobi’s Red-Light District.

Peaceful Demos are OK but Larceny is Not

So the University of Nairobi (UoN) students went on the rampage yesterday.

The back story is that two human rights activists from the Oscar Foundation, Oscar King’ara and Paul Oulu, were shot by unknown gunmen along State House Rd. in Nairobi. The Oscar Foundation had been providing legal aid to a government-banned sect, Mungiki. A UoN student, Edwin Ong’aro, was involved in protests against the killing that occured near the University hostels. Police arrived at the scene, attempted to retrieve the body, met student opposition from the protesters, in the scuffle opened fire and a live bullet struck Edwin.

Students wanted to protest. University administrators were totally against it. You know the no-nonsense Prof. G. Magoha would have none of that, and indeed put students on notice. The demos were in fact flagged as illegal until a cohort of activists visited the Prime Minister and he ultimately backed them, ordering police not to impede their movements.

Well, if there’s anything we’ve learnt from previous protests by university students, it’s that they are all but peaceful; there’s almost always a red herring that causes digression:

I’m not against demonstrations, the right to lawful assembly is enshrined in the Constitution. However, Continue reading

Stunning Photography: Finding Lions

I love nature. Better yet, I appreciate amazing photography of places and of animals I may yet see in this lifetime. Which is why National Geographic’s International Photo contest was endearing.

One of my favorites in the collection is of a “lion standing guard over the floor of the Ngorongoro crater” in Tanzania, by Gavin Yerxa:

Finding Lion

Earlier this week I read a great account from Paul, of the African Wildlife Foundation, about their work in the Heartland finding and collaring lions.

Head over there and check out some more great photos.