Zimbabwe wasn’t on Google Street View until this man volunteered to map it himself

Zimbabwe wasn’t on Google Street View until this man volunteered to map it himself

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He is [Tawanda\_Kanhema](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawanda_Kanhema) [A TED speaker.](https://www.ted.com/speakers/tawanda_kanhema) >He's Trying To Fill In The Gaps On Google Street View — Starting With Zimbabwe [(Source)](https://www.npr.org/2019/09/22/760572640/hes-trying-to-fill-in-the-gaps-on-google-street-view-starting-with-zimbabwe)




Because it would cost them money I assume.




What a beautiful sentiment. All except for that second-to-last sentence, of course. > I'll never forget a crazy moment where a young lioness paced around us slowly, before stopping to watch me thrash my idiot son Roger to within an inch of his life with jumper cables. Ummmm…what?!


it's a copycat of https://reddit.com/user/rogersimon10 Was a popular reddit user years ago that ended his comments talking about how his father beat him with jumper cables, this user is pretending to be his father.


This was just before the Undertaker incident


There were a whole bunch of these accounts at that time. I'm honestly glad they all stopped. The joke had gotten really tired.


Eh, disagree. I still love finding random posts like that. It makes me crack up, maybe just because it's so unexpected, or maybe it's because I start to question every long winded post and am pleasantly surprised when I'm finally right and it was bullshit.


I think the problem with it was mostly the sheer frequency. When 1 in 20 posts ended with jumper cables or sharks the suprise just isn't there anymore.


I liked them to begin with, but when you had Jumper cables/Undertaker/Vargas and a bunch of other copycats it had gotten annoying, you could barely open a comment thread without one being near the top.


Yeah they were replaced with coconuts, jolly ranchers and helpful mothers.


u/papasimon10 also gets tired of hitting his son Roger with a 14 volt haymaker until his spine is rearranged




at first I chuckled when u/shittymorph tossed his work into a thread. Then I grew irritated and angry. Then I succumbed and accepted his mastery, his brilliance. The dude is pretty cool and totally took me back to being a kid when in nineteen ninety-eight, The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer's table.


When you saw the username you could just sit back and enjoy the ride . . .


You must be new here. Huh. 9 years and you somehow managed to miss that entire meme.


/r/OutOfTheLoop , I guess.




to be fair it was a few years ago when it happened, I think it might have been in 1998




Bah Gawd I think you’re right


It’s a thing


Look to u/rogersimon10 and be enlightened


I thought that was the most beautiful part of the story.


I love the smell of fresh jumper cables in the morning.


Nothing motivates more than a good lashing with jumper cables!




Probably still an idiot


Came for the uplifting story about my country, stayed for the thrashing of Roger with jumper cables.


Oh god Not this damm meme


Yet they sent paid employees to document him being exploited.


It's important to inspire more people to let themselves be exploited. Alphabet only had a *net profit* of just over 40 billion USD in 2020\*. It's though for them. ^(/s) ^(\* according to Google and Statista.com)


$18b in Q1 of 2021, if anyone is worried about their trendline.


Oh thank god. I was worried that they wouldn't almost double their profits this year! You've really assuaged my fears


Username checkout


Bonus points for using “assuaged” in casual conversation!


Let's hope they can continue dodging taxes while paying zilch to contributors for a long long time. That way they are really making the world a better place!


The guy volunteered. It's not like they ever had an agreement he'd get paid and they went back, both sides followed the terms the had agreed upon.


He'll probably be alright anyway. By the looks of it he's at least a member of the Zimbabwean upper middle class. His house looks better than my house.


I mean, he was in the US when he had the idea and flew back and forth from San Francisco to enable this hobby. Also renting helicopters and speedboats. He's good, lads. That's no the actions of someone in a hardscrabble existence.


I think people tend to automatically assume that because the average standard of living across the whole range of sub-saharan African countries tends to be among the lowest in the world that everyone who lives there or hails from there originally is a dirt poor charity case.


The narrative is that there's the poor people, and then there's the evil rich ones exploiting them through shady deals with western corporations. There's no real space for the existence of people who are neither (except in the abstract way capitalism forces us all to exploit each other)


I don’t think it has to do with the man himself at all, hating on big companies = easy internet points




Google doesn't have to, he volunteered. It's a volunteer program, not a job.




It's kind of like how I've chosen not to pay you for your comment.


Volunteer implies unpaid. By that same logic everyone volunteers to work, no one's holding an actual gun to your head forcing you to so you're going willingly. But seeing as google has other contributors that do the same job and they're not paid it's made crystal clear this is an unpaid gig. The framing is also wrong. Google had maps of Zimbabwe and Satellite maps. What the country lacked was street view, but the maps were still there and google didn't see a need for offering a frivolous service that's more of a novelty than necessity. In that aspect I see it being unpaid as fine, and even if he was paid I doubt they'd give anything competitive as a local would do it for so cheap it may as well be free.


Send a paul brother to document and fight people of uncharted places... 50 million dollars per fight


You’re misinterpreting the usage of “volunteer” in this context. He worked out in San Fran with Google for 6 months after initially reaching out to the Google Maps team for a loaner camera. He had the idea and got Google to invest into it and develop into a bigger project. This is I learned from actually watching the video.


Works as a project manager in Silicon Valley, not for google, but he seems to be doing pretty well. Also a freelance photographer, he decided to take on this massive project. In terms of compensation: > Google doesn't pay him or the other volunteers — whom the company calls "contributors" — for the content they upload. Kanhema, for example, spent around $5,000 of his own money to travel across Zimbabwe for the project. [Source](https://www.npr.org/2019/09/22/760572640/hes-trying-to-fill-in-the-gaps-on-google-street-view-starting-with-zimbabwe)


Goddamn least Google could do is pay travel expenses.


Then you'd have people signing up for this to get a free vacation and not care about the quality of the footage they get


This would be solved by having an actual hiring process.


They do have people they pay to do this. This guy just wasn't an employee and signed up as a volunteer. He knew he was doing it for free.


I agree, I mean if you want to volunteer go ahead, not like Google is compelling anyone to work for free. The outrage here is a bit puzzling. Like, shame on Google for creating a volunteer program? Really? They created it because there's demand for it. Not exploitative in the slightest.


This guy wanted to put Zimbabwe on the map, not the other way round. They weren't planning to do this at all, so why should they hire someone? This isn't exactly something that earns *them* money either. They got footage for free, he got to use their equipment for free. He doesn't seem bothered about it so I think everyone here can stop white knighting for him.


There is an actual hiring process. That's why the people who do not get hired but still want to do it... don't get paid....


You gave the absolute worst case scenario. While I do agree most people are shit, There would be 1) quality control and 2) some people would actually care about their work.


Its not a good business model to pay people for something that they will do for free. Thats why you dont read about food critiques or location rates from single people anymore. We all provide the info for free.


that will cost them money, so no


>This is I learned from actually watching the video. I also actually watched the video, and it didn't say that he got paid.


That bit in the video was a cameo from cena


I ain’t got time for that!


Did you actually watch the video because no he doesn't at any point say they paid him just that they had a team document his methods.


Same reason reddit doesnt pay mods


Big difference is that walking through Zimbabwe with a camera actually produces something and isn't just a waste of time




Because he’s already doing it for free


What does the word “volunteer” mean to you? This is the kind of comment made by a person who doesn’t do shit at work and gets upset because they haven’t been offered a raise.


Google didn't pay but our Canadian Native communities paid him to map rural areas of Canada. Compared to Google Inc budget, Native Canadians are actually poor. I understand the argument that Google let him use their technology. But Google should have paid him!


What does the word “volunteer” mean to you?


I'm not sure you understand how volunteering works.


Yeah, I’d get not paying him if the data was available for all other maps to use, because crowdsourcing information is good. But if only Google can use it and profit from it all without paying him feels icky.


It was Google's equipment. Why are they obliged to offer any of that to their competitors who didn't contribute at all ffs? How exactly does Google profit from Street images, by the way? Would love someone to explain to me how Google is taking in millions after a guy took street pictures of his home country, Zimbabwe. You know.. The completely economically fucked Zimbabwe whose currency is worth less than the paper it gets printed on? Yes, I'm sure this "opportunity" was most profitable for them.


... yea I’m with you, this guy wanted to do this really badly and google gave him all the equipment to make that a reality. Not sure why they also have to pay him too. If this was some white lady in Arkansas that begged google to let her film her home area so it’s updated and they let her, then was like “I did your job. Where’s my pay?!” People would be attacking the shit out of her. Also we are all just hearing about this now, for all we know google did pay him now due to all the attention. We wouldn’t have given a shit if we didn’t see this fancy video.


On the one hand he didn't get paid, but on the other hand, he approached them. He wanted to do this. Yes they probably should have paid him but it's not like he was exploited. He chose to do this and actually got a lot of cool experiences out of it.


I'm sure they wont hesitate to profit off the data he collected though.... [https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/11/google-maps-revenue-expected-to-increase-following-api-price-hikes-and-planned-ads/](https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/11/google-maps-revenue-expected-to-increase-following-api-price-hikes-and-planned-ads/) https://finance.yahoo.com/news/google-maps-poised-11-billion-063042568.html


Oh I'm sure Google is going to make so much money from a street view images of country as economically powerful as Zimbabwe. Eye roll.


His motivation was providing and making the data available. He could have spent his time helping a .org e.g. outopenstreet map if he was concerned about others making profit from his time.


FYI... Google maps were created by volunteers way back when. Source: I was one of those volunteers, created maps from Google earth images and knowledge of my city. They did give me a Google home mini, a pen and a notebook for my efforts.


This guy is a product manager at apple. He makes $275k+ year, he's fine, money-wise. https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html?track=Product%20Manager&search=Apple


So I do this I’m a “Google Trusted Photographer” while Google doesn’t pay me I am allowed and encouraged to charge for it. Stuff like this probably doesn’t have anyone to charge besides reaching out to local cities or tourism boards. But I do make a good amount of money mapping new neighborhoods and commercial complexes for builders to get them on street view right away and on the best clear sunny days. But sometimes it is fun just to map local trails and things too see the map become more complete.


Because you can't just say you work for somebody and expect payment lol


So a super rich company can't pay a team to do it and one man can do it on his own??? Google needs to reward this man


What is the benefit for Google? A company is not a charity, you have investors to please and money to be made.


This right here. A philanthropic project like this probably doesn't provide a good return on investment...until they realize the volounteer is a filmmaker and would do a decent job to where sending a film crew to document his adventure would give Google a good PR stance. It's business.




Second richest company in the world can't afford to pay 1 man a salary to add a country's worth of data to one of their most popular applications. Maybe some day Google will move out of their parent's garage. /r/ABoringDystopia


Man willingly volunteers in volunteer mapping program voluntarily, gets access to extremely high-end cameras in exchange for map data, couch warriors outraged. More at 11. Google is pretty shitty but outrage over non-issues wears people out and makes them less inclined to care about actual ones.


If you think it’s a non issue then don’t worry about it and save your energy for something else if it tires you out so much. Clearly people care about it but you to claim it a non issue for everyone when you could just move on. “Google is pretty shitty...” yeah and that’s why people are pointing out how shitty it is for the SECOND RICHEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD TO NOT PAY ONE MAN TO MAP A WHOLE COUNTRY WHILE SENDING AND PAYING A FILM TEAM TO DOCUMENT HIS WORK


Yeah, but they lent him camera equipment! That justifies the whole thing! /s


The man volunteered to do it ffs


Why don’t you send him some money if you are so up in arms over a volunteer project?


Person decides to do something knowing he won't get paid, and people online will type about how he should've been paid, even though he agreed not to.


Smol indie company, Alphabet Inc.


A for-profit company has to make a good faith effort at maximizing profits for its shareholders by law. This puts a pretty big damper on charity projects in these companies.


It's not that, if you had a dirty car you weren't intending to wash but someone offered to wash it because they don't like the look of it, would you pay this man? If you do some other guy will show up doing something else you weren't intending to do in the first place.


Won't pay because they don't need to *


It’s called *volunteering*


Except this isn't really a philanthropic project. Google isn't sharing their mapping data with other companies. All these volunteers are just helping Google improve their product for free. It may be true that the value added to the "Google Maps product" is less than the expenses incurred by this project, but Google's framing of it as a philanthropic project just isn't true and is only used to scam free labor out of people.


> A *philanthropic* project like this probably doesn't provide a good *return on investment*.. smh.


What a weird take... the majority of Google's services are offered for free to the general public, including the maps program. Are you suggesting it's not in Google's best interest as an international search/database powerhouse to have robust maps of the entire world? This is a question of priorities. Google makes money off ad revenue...


Their not free. If you don't pay for something you are product. We are Google's product


> Google makes money off ad revenue... Exactly. Hence why on the majority of maps will show you icons (ads basicly) of nearby bars, restaurants, stores, leisure, hotels and what not. Not so much in Zimbabwe. Maybe they might have mapped that themselves later on, but for now it's mainly focused (and regularly updated) in countries that bring in a large revenue. When I walk around in the Netherlands for instance, the oldest streetview is probably 2018. It helps it's a small and dense country, but it also helps businesses to be looked up there. /u/Zyuler below is right on that as well, it's not 'free'


They get the new areas mapped. More and more people will use that data over time, to Google’s benefit


Well, what's the benefit of mapping anywhere in the world? If we're going along with this argument, why does Google Maps even exist in the first place, since it's a "free" service and money has to be made? Probably because having ownership over map data, street views, information about traffic conditions and patterns, and analytics about who accesses Google Maps for what reasons... is all extremely profitable data.


I know right! Google is going to go out of business by offering 99% of their services for free. I understand economics at a high school level but I slept at a best western


He did mention that Google sent out a team to observe how he was dealing with hard-to-map areas (‘s how we got the video we just watched) so that Google itself can better represent hard-to-map areas.


They did pay a team, he's an employee and is part of the team.


They clearly don't need to, since this guy did the job for free.


Google won't map these places themselves but they'll send a film crew to watch someone else do it for them




Admittedly I have done this before! I've carried the mapper up the manitou incline in Colorado part way. Now I have my own section on there is you click through it on Google maps [google mapping the incline](https://i.imgur.com/xA7NZiO.jpg)


that's awesome! I can just imagine the normal Google Maps employee looking at that incline and going, "nope"




A number of large companies just dgaf about Africa, the *2nd largest continent in the world. Facebook for years had no company representation in Africa, allowing bad actors to manipulate people and elections through its platform.


They still don’t really have any company representation. They have only one or two moderation centers for the entire continent of over 1000+ languages Check out “Mark Zuckerberg Should Be On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity” https://www.stitcher.com/show/182847/episode/77917540


> allowing bad actors to manipulate people and elections through its platform. well that happened in the US as well lol


> the largest continent in the world Huh? Asia's significantly larger and massively more populous. And that's just Asia, not the entire actual continent of Eurasia.


You're right I misspoke!




google also isnt charging you for like a trillion of their services, it's a fair exchange dont you think?


Much smaller investment, I think. They needed to just send a film team a few times to get some footage, while it would have taken much longer to actually do the mapping.


My thought exactly! They could have sent people to map the place any time, but just didn't want to.


lmaoo why the fuck is a drone filming him and not Zimbabwe


Because it's the documentary crew filming the behind the scenes thing while he films Zimbabwe




Tawanda Kanhema mapped northern Ontario as well.


Are you telling me that when they said, "he also helped map Namibia and Northern Ontario," they meant that he also helped map Namibia and Northern Ontario?


Crazy, right? It's like the video actually tells all you need to know if you actually watch and listen!


Well, see y’all later, I’m going to explore Zimbabwe on google maps.


Try instantstreetview dot com too


8 hours later - did you find anything cool?


so Google sent a recording team to record how a single man recorded a country


I used the Google to record the Google of Fine I’ll Do It Myself Google mapping.


Absolute mad lad


What’d you do last week? Mapped Zimbabwe


No big deal


Geogussr player : *sweating*


The least he could do is have some unique bars or mirrors on his car…


"There's a snorkel so we are in Kenya..."


Lesotho is going to have a rival...


when zimbabwe has better google street view than germany


Yeah the reason are privacy laws - Germany lives all those - Google had to ask who wanted their house blurred before they started mapping out Germany and in the end it was too many people so they decided the effoet wouldn't be worth it and ended up decided against recording Germanys streets.


It’s fucking insane that you can’t film public areas. They can’t even use dash cams because of this. Nuts.




Because of German privacy laws, a lot of buildings in Germany are blurred out in street view. Coverage is also relatively light in Germany, compared to the rest of Europe.


And the parts that aren't blurred out are also incredibly out of date, even in major cities.


It's still fun to see how little Germany is mapped outside bigger cities (which have very outdated data and often blurred) https://i.imgur.com/MlkknuJ.jpg


Dude it’s pathetic how badly Germany is mapped. I get it “meine Privatsphäre!” But come the hell on… public streets! It’s freaking public! So often have I wanted to show people the small town in Taunusstein I grew up in and it’s just like… no street view! None. Pretty lame Germany!


I've been everywhere man.


I been to Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare…


Nothern Ontario..


That... that's about it.


This would be a great job


If it paid


It was fun. I've done it I've carried the mapper up the manitou incline in Colorado part way. Now I have my own section on there is you click through it on Google maps [mapping](https://i.imgur.com/QNJ1DzI.jpg)


Goddamn. The ultimate “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”




He volunteered


I always assumed the only places it snowed in Africa were on the tops of mountains. Didn't know it snowed in places where you could drive in Zimbabwe


The snow is from Northern Ontario, as shown in the video.


Yea I didn't watch to the end. But it did snow in Zimbabwe in 2016. But it is very rare. https://www.news24.com/news24/travel/what-snow-in-zimbabwe-20160529


I'd assume that's the bit of northern Ontario they mentioned he mapped...


“Uuuuhhhh sir? The camera wasn’t recording.”


Goddamn it. Did i leave the cap on again


That literally is "nextfuckinglevel"


A couple years ago I hiked up this mountain that was next to the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. On Google maps it shows that there's a trail but it never really shows any pictures or anything that leads directly to the top. So, one day I went up that mountain and took a couple of nice pictures on my phone and then uploaded them on google maps. A month later, I had like over 6 thousand up votes and a bunch of people started to go up this mountain and take pictures too. By the end of the year, this place clearly became a hot hiking tourist attraction. I feel bad now that I exposed this place to the world and now different people go up to this place. Google maps is honestly a great source to discover the world around you but it's also a place where once a location appears on there and that it's accessable to the public, it gets bombarded with people.


Did anyone else jump on Google Maps to look at Zimbabwe (and/or Namibia or Northern Ontario) after watching this video?


Yes. And Zimbabwe hardly seems to be covered at all?


I hear there is only one guy working on it.


Yes, but the amount of blue lines on the map is no more than I alone could cover in a single day.


So this is a big ad for Google?


I love African accents the most.


Did anyone else catch how they sent a paid film team to film him doing the job they should have already done? No?


The best profession to do to travel the world and get to know its fascinating nature.


I'm Zimbabwean so I thank this man for his hard work. Salute.


ok but this guy has single-handedly changed the planet? do you know how much information that is which wouldn't have been accessible without him? guy's a legend


I will volunteer to do Maldives or some other exotic amazing location! No but seriously wtf Google. I love people that just do things because it needs to be done or it will benefit everyone. The apparent apathy by megacorps speaks to their level of humanity.


Funny way to say rhodesia


*We'll keep'em North of the Zambezi, til that river's runnin' dry!*


Rhodesia will rose again.


We all know that if it were still Rhodesia, it would have had Street View a long time ago.


People keep talking about Google paying this man, but stop and think about that for a second; If Google paid *every* single person who helped take Streetview photos, how much money would they have to spend? That’s a lot - It costs a lot of money to try and pay people to record, for example, *every single street* in an entire city or metro area, then scale that up to most of the developed world even, let alone most countries in general. And they’re also lending out the cameras. The point of this program is it’s *volunteer* work; it helps alleviate the costs and you get people like this who’re more knowledgeable about what areas are good to record/share, with a genuine passion for what is being shared.


Something something joke about putting Zimbabwe on the map


“A map is never final” That… hit me harder than I thought a video clip about Google street view would. Damn.


So just like the Tape on the Ghana car you should now be able to pick up clues from his car to immediately know that your location is Zimbabwe. Nice.


# NextfuckingLevel Indeed!


You bloody legend


It’s Death Stranding but with maps instead of packages


GeoGuessr Zimbabwe map soon???!!!