By Dan Oshodin
Last week Google announced that it has improved location search experience in Lagos by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps. This came with the big news: the launch of Nigeria on Google Street View. Beginning with the city of Lagos but with the possibility of extension to other states in the nearest future, Nigeria finally joined the growing list of ‘developed’ countries where you can navigate the streets in a virtual car.
Google Street View is a web-based application that augments Google Maps by providing panoramic images of streets in various cities around the world. Launched in 2007 in selected cities in the US and later expanded to include other cities across the world, anyone from any location in the world can zoom into Google street view and see what the street actually looks like to passersby. Google uses roving vehicles that drive down the street taking millions of digital photographs to collect the necessary data and the Street View application pieces these photographs together along with controls that allow users to step down the street, or turn their View to different angles.
I first experienced the magic of Google Street View when I visited Liverpool 3 years ago. While riding the train from London I browsed Google map on my mobile phone to plot my journey from the Lime Street train station to the hotel I had booked to lodge. I was pleasantly surprised to find out out that in addition to learning that I could get to my hotel either by walking for 8 minutes or taking a 10 minute bus ride, a click brought out 3D images of my destination. I have since wondered when we can have that piece of technology back here in Nigeria and how wonderful it could be for my out of home planning work. And here it is.
The launching of Lagos on Street View comes with over 10,000 kilometers of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city andyou can virtually drive along the Third Mainland Bridge via the Adeniji Loop and down to Osbourne Road or through Ikorodu Road via Western Avenue to Eko Bridge – all on a mobile device in your hands.
While many celebrate this development for its usefulness in exploring places of interest such as hotels, parks, museums and historicaland cultural sites, the arrival of Nigeria on Google Street View signals a new dawn for the out-of-home advertising industry. And for my planning team at Posterscope, Nigeria’s pioneer specialist out-of-home communication agency, Google Street View could not have come at a better time.
The arrival of Google Street View coincides with the launch in Posterscope Nigeria of ECOS our global information management platform that comes with applications for data led OOH planning, buying, campaign management, visualisation and reporting.
We have always wanted to expand our planners’ access to maps and the flexibility of viewing different data sources within maps. When planning out-of-home advertising campaigns, we need to know the exact location of potential sites for client advertising, demographics for the area around each site, and distance to the client’s point of sale or nearest retail location. So we developed ECOS, our own suite of tools for planning out-of-home campaigns. ECOS helps our planners gather data relevant to a campaign, manage campaign workflows and create visuals showing the selected out-of-home locations.
The ECOS platform gives OOH media planners at Posterscope the freedom to upload and view maps with a variety of data relating to potential advertising locations and make smarter and faster decisions about which locations to include in campaigns. We can overlay audience research about potential viewers for advertising locations giving out of home advertising the measurability that has eluded the industry for so long. And we can determine which Points of Interests have availability of OOH sites for advertising campaigns.
With the coming of Google Street View we can now can pull up an image using the Street View API for our client to see an actual out-of-home location. No site visits with media owners. And where no media opportunity exists we can create new ones through collaboration with our media owner partners, effectively making the street our canvas. Combine this with the growing digitization of OOH, multiplication of data sources and the abundance of new technology that is changing the way we can use OOH to connect with people in physical spaces,the opportunity that OOH now offers brands in Nigeria is endless and nothing could be more exciting.
Dan Oshodin is managing director at Posterscope Nigeria.