SAN Metropolitan Plc launched a Satellite Navigation System that will help you guide and locate places within 7,000 km radius in Addis Ababa and the surrounding areas.
The places located in the system includes over 800 governmental and non-governmental organizations, 2,300 restaurants, 1,000 cafés, 1,000 hotels and guest houses, 150 travel agencies, 30 museums and other many locations of libraries, health centers, tourist sites, car rental centers and educational institutions found in the city.
The satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit will give directions to locations the user wishes to go.
With an investment of almost 4 million birr, the system by getting information from a satellite will acquire the geographical coordination of a person traveling and lead to a specific location where the driver wishes to go. “Our company promotes solving problems using technology, and for the past three years it has been working to develop the satellite navigation system appropriately. This system named Meri, will solve traffic problems by giving the option of detours to a person by leading them where they wish to go,” said Seyfeselase Ayalew, Director of SAN Metropolitan Plc.
The company imports the hardware for the navigation system from China and installs the program that is specifically made for Ethiopia. The system uses English as a medium of communication. “For now we have only made the system available in English but one of our future plans is to provide the service in some of the major Ethiopian languages,” Seyfeselase added.
Meri navigation system comes in three different forms which are Personal Navigation Device which is portable, Dash Navigation system which will be installed on the dashboard of a vehicle and Meri for Smartphone which is an application that enables people who use smartphones to get access of the navigation system with their phones.
“We are doing this project in two phases; the first phase is what we have presented today, which is a navigation system that covers Addis Ababa and the surrounding areas. The second phase will be upgrading the system so it will cover the country. This will put Ethiopia on the list with the very few countries that have full coverage of a navigation system,” stated Seyfeselase.
The director went on to say that even though the patent for such navigation system is held by an Ethiopian engineer and all developed countries have benefited from it, Ethiopia has just now started tapping into this invaluable resource.
There are a lot of different navigation system models in the market but Admasu Gebre who is an Ethiopian engineer owns the patent recognized by the U.S and the rest of the world for this specific kind of navigation system Ethiopia will be using. This navigation system is different from others because it is capable of detecting traffic congestion and advising vehicles of alternatives.
SAN Metropolitan Private Limited Company has received a grant from the World Bank to support the project and the devices will be on the market soon.