Putting Oman on digital map

Nokia’s ‘Discover Oman’ initiative aimed at encouraging local students to add map data and photographs to the Oman HERE Maps, ran for a period of eight weeks and received over 2,300 contributions.

Had Ibnu Batuta carried a digital camera when he globetrotted, we could have a far clearer picture of how the world, including Oman, looked like then! Or had he made use of Global Positioning System, he could have travelled more countries in a shorter span of time! The greatest traveller of all time, whose magnum opus Rihla is a must reference work for students of mediaeval history, had not had those luxuries that today even a suckling can have access to. How the camera, in its myriad hues and manifestations, has metamorphosed the way we learn and reproduce knowledge and chronicle history is phenomenal. Ours is a time when snapshots speak louder than words, and cameras, piggybacking on the wave of digital revolution, have democratised the entire process of acquiring knowledge, mapping destinations and writing history.

Cashing in on this digital and photographic revolution is a digital mapping project called “Discover” initiated by Nokia. Oman was the first country to be part of the global project which will be rolled out to other markets in the next phase. The initiative, aimed at encouraging local students to add map data including POIs (Points of Interest), new routes and photographs, to the Oman HERE Maps, ran for a period of eight weeks and received over 2,300 contributions. The contributions provided meaningful data including local insights, stories and reviews of various points of interests, adding further value to tourists exploring the rich heritage of Oman.

Nokia hosted a gala awards ceremony to recognise the contribution of the winners recently at Sifawy Boutique Hotel where ten local university students and five professional photographers from the Oman Photographic Society were recognised for their passion, with special mentions going to Sachin Dominic D’Silva who uploaded over 700 spectacular images of Oman, and Malikah Hamood Mohammed Al-Nassri who added over 700 kms of new mapped roads.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response to the first Discover Oman competition,” said Salma Massoud, head of App Marketing, Nokia Middle East. “The mobile application was downloaded over 100 times during the first phase, generating an incredible 2,300 contributions. Going forward, we want to encourage all Windows Phone users in Oman to download the app and make their own contributions.”

“As Nokia’s partners in Oman for the last twenty years, Mohsin Haider Darwish has been proud to be a partner in the Discover Oman initiative,” said Jayaprakash Menon, director for Telecom products. “Economic diversification is a target for all GCC countries making tourism and knowledge-led business two of Oman’s priority sectors, and this project ties both together. The detailed real-time information provided through this project makes it a truly useful resource for Oman, and I would like to extend our congratulations to all those who participated.”

Commenting on the initiative, Tariq Al Barwani, founder and president of Knowledge Oman, said ,”Discover Oman is a nationwide society impacting project that we are happy to support and work closely with Nokia to ensure Oman is put firmly on the world digital map. Our responsibility is to ensure the students and the academia are aware about this initiative and learning is shared as we all contribute for Oman’s digital development.”

The next phase of “Discover Oman” will kick off in April, and Nokia looks forward to even more rich map data being contributed through the app by the growing community of users.

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