People are now able to get maps on their mobile phones to find their way around Bahrain. The service was launched recently , as part of Bahrain’s e-government programme, at a ceremony held at the Central Informatics Organisation (CIO), Isa Town. It has been developed by the CIO which is represented by the GIS and the Addresses Directorate. Anyone having a mobile phone can now locate addresses or places like hospitals, restaurants or commercial banks, said CIO president Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa.
The service will be provided free of charge to people who subscribe to GPRS. Through this service, the customer will be provided in seconds with a map showing the location precisely. The user can control the size and scale of the map by using the control tools provided with the map. This service provides detailed options like hotel locations and a search for various types of restaurants. It also provides the capability to search for a particular service like pharmacies within a given block. CIO, as a government agency in charge of addresses and as a centre for geospatial Information in the kingdom, cares in the first place to provide services that give accurate and precise information for both private and public sectors.
This system plays a big role in the support of tourism in the kingdom by providing comprehensive and accurate information on hotels, restaurants and recreation areas to the tourists. It also helps in speeding up delivery of mails and other services by easily locating addresses. It took about two years of continuous enhancement work for the geospatial information database, which will play a major role in many projects and applications in the near future.
The user can search for an address by entering the block, road and building numbers. He or she will then get a map showing the addresses, location, area name, block number and surrounding landmarks. The user can also select a landmark or a service provider from a drop down list, which includes clubs, restaurants, hospitals, embassies, money exchange, banks, pharmacies, tourist attractions and police, fire and filling stations. The service is not limited to the above but expands to subcategories with more details. For example, when selecting the hotels service, the user can further select the hotel class, when a list of the five star hotels are displayed. As part of the project, 150,000 new signs have been installed around Bahrain over the past two years.