Geolocation and mapping apps are a rich market to tap into in Africa. Even Google, with all its glorious Maps, has yet to outline and document Africa’s routes in detail, given its sheer scale and connectivity problems, especially in rural areas.
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Apps like Waze and HopStop show that new competitors can contribute with innovative tools like social aggregation, but in all likelihood will be bought up and incorporated into larger firms, as happened with Waze and Google, and HopStop and Apple respectively.
South African-based developer Lebogang Nkoane has joined the party with a public transport route manager application named awayto.be, in the hopes to ease commuting on peoples’ daily lives. His focus on South Africa and Africa might just give him a leg up on the competition.
Millions of South Africans use public transport services in their daily lives. Awayto.be gives its users an avenue to find the most efficient route and means to get to their destination – and they can do so online from the comfort of their mobile phone. Awayto.be currently supports BlackBerry, Android and iOS.
Users simply put in their location and destination, and the app will do the rest – generating several public transport options which the commuter can then choose from.
At the moment awayto.be is only currently available in SA’s bigger cities, as they were great testing grounds, said Nkoana:
“Currently, it provides routing in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town city centres as well as Gautrain, Rea Vaya and MyCiTi routes. These areas and routes were chosen as the basis for proof of concept and served as the testing grounds for the validity, accuracy, and relevancy of the application,” he said in an official statement.
The goal with the app is to map out all of Africa by mid 2014 with public transport routes. “In the end, I am hoping to realise, as twisted as it will sound, what Cecil John Rhodes wanted to achieve: a way to move from Cape to Cairo preferably using public transport as car ownership is still a distant dream for the majority of our people,” Nkoane added.
Awayto.be has been in development for nine years.