Trivandrum: In November 2015, Mir Mohammed Ali, an IAS officer posted in Trivandrum, Kerala, initiated a project with the intention of bringing places of public interest onto the online platform. Titled the ‘Map My Home Project’, it was implemented with the participation of over 100 students from multiple colleges in the city. Three months and over 1500 mapped-locations later, the Govt. of Kerala issued an order recommending the statewide implementation of this project.
The Map My Home Project uses Google Maps to increase accessibility and accountability at Government offices, besides giving a fillip to local businesses.
- If you are confused which government office to go to and want to contact the office.
- If you are ever unsure where a particular government office is.
- If you are wondering where the nearest pharmaceutical shop or a juice shop is.
The Project goes beyond answering these questions and provides several additional benefits.
Speaking at the Digital India Dinner in San Jose, Prime Minister Modi made a very interesting observation. He said, “The only status that now matters is not whether you are awake or asleep, but whether you are online or offline”.
Mir has brought the students of colleges to bring Government offices and small establishments – the ones with no website, no conceivable online presence to the online platform, under the initiative ‘Map My Home Project’. Mentoring a group of 106 students from 6 colleges, he started the ‘Map My Home Challenge’, a competition to bring quality data (photos, contact details, working hours) regarding these establishments onto Google Maps, in an effort to use an initiative that would make the smartphone smarter in Kerala.
Government offices aren’t expected to be online. Getting a phone number and contacting them isn’t as easy as it may seem. “All you need to do now is a search for the Government Office on Maps. The call can be made straight from your mobile phone through the Google Maps app itself”, said Mir. “During the pilot, we mapped every Taluk Office, Sub Registrar Office and almost all Village Offices in Trivandrum.” Once a government office is fully mapped by the students, not only can it be located, viewed and contacted, but, more importantly, it can be reviewed. These reviews, whether in the form of appreciation or criticism can be read by the entire community.