Colombo and Kandy the first in Sri Lanka to get street level information on Google Maps

Colombo on Google Maps

Up until now, I’ve used Colombo eMap whenever I’ve wanted to plot a route in Colombo. Now there’s a better option.

Although it’s yet to percolate to the mobile version, Google Maps on the web now has street level information in Colombo and Kandy. Click the image above for a higher resolution screenshot. Google Maps also features photos and videos from users, so it’s only a while before Colombo and Kandy are nicely geo-annotated and referenced.

Compare Google Maps to the information available on Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, and the difference is evident. Click the image below.

Colombo on Microsoft's Virtual Earth
Colombo on Microsoft's Virtual Earth

With the Ministry of Defense ban on GPS on mobiles now lifted (it’s unclear if the ban was ever official and gazetted) we may see later this year the growth of the same types of location based services available in places such as New York that combine the power of GPS, Google Maps and mobiles. At the very least, it’s now much easier to tell someone exactly where one is located in Colombo. On the downside, the Google Maps only has the current road names – Flower Road for example is Sir Ernest De Silva Road – a name which few know and use.

Still, I’m excited at the prospect the information that allows one to discover a city and explore its features (bars to restaurants, temples to museums, parks to bargains) is coming home.