SAN Metropolitan PLC, an Ethiopian Private Company, Launches Satellite Navigation System

Photo: Dr. Seife-Selassie Ayalew

Jan. 06, 2013
By Birhanu Fikade

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Jan. 05, 2013 — The expanding road network and massive building projects in Addis Ababa now require the adoption of a satellite-based geographical navigation device in the city, claims a private company that from now on says it will reduce the costs of navigation in everyday life.

SAN Metropolitan PLC launched the system here last Thursday at the Radisson Blu. Seife-Selassie Ayalew (Ph.D), General Manager of the company, told The Reporter that the company had been working for the last three years to develop the mapping and data encoding practices for the navigation device.

The World Bank is involved in supporting the project through the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Development Program, a year-long matching-grant fund.  The company’s Meri-Ethiopian satellite navigation system will soon be available for sale.

Seife-Selassie noted that there was no easier way to find a place, for one. Lack of stratified data of places and clearly identifiable addresses are huge burdens for people. The US-made device will now be able to serve both local users and tourists in locating places, Seife-Selaasie says. Easing traffic is also another lavish benefit to the system, the company man claims.

Drivers will pay as much as seven thousand birr for the device and will get navigation service for about 800 governmental and non-governmental organizations, 2,300 restaurants, 1,000 cafeterias and 1,000 guest houses and hotels, 150 travel agencies, and more than 30 museums and galleries. Many more public institutions are included in the company’s 30, 000 places that are marked on the map. It is noted that the mapping and data encoding processes alone are estimated to cost the drivers about 1,500 birr. Seife-Selassie confirmed that his company’s new device will provide the basic services of navigation in that it will assist drivers to get from one geographical coordinate to their desired destination. Nonetheless, he claims that more advanced technology will soon be available to the country.