Skip to main content

We can all explore Zimbabwe on Google Maps Street View, thanks to one person

Google Maps’ Street View is an incredible undertaking. It has taken the company, with the help of thousands of contributors, years and years of work to put together. But if you ever want to check out a Street View image of a location in Zimbabwe, you have just one person to thank: Tawande Kanhema.

After Kanhema found that he was unable to pull up the house he grew up in, he found that his hometown of Harare was no where to be found on Street View. His response? To take on the task of putting Zimbabwe, and 14 other countries in southern Africa, in Street View himself.

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

Google actually has a camera loan program for Street View, which allows users to take advantage of Google’s 360-degree cameras to contribute to Street View, and this is what Kanhema used to capture all different kinds of terrain in Zimbabwe. Kanhema personally funded his trip — totaling around $5,000 — and covered areas of Zimbabwe like Victoria Falls, the main business districts in Harare, the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, and other tourist attractions and centers.

Kanhema also captured some incredible panoramic views, and had to travel by car, ATV, speedboat, bicycle, and helicopter to do so. Ultimately, he covered thousands of miles. Much of his journey was done completely by himself — though Google did eventually send a video crew to document Kanhema’s journey.

“Mapping the Zambezi river was probably my favorite part of this project,” said Kanhema in an interview with CNET. “It’s a very unique way of experiencing the Zambezi Valley’s rich biodiversity. We arrived in Victoria Falls late afternoon, just in time to catch the sunset on the Zambezi river.”

While Street View is an incredible technology, unfortunately it offers much more detailed maps of western countries in Europe and North America — but there are still massive gaps in coverage on continents like Africa and Asia. In 2019, Google said that it had “largely mapped” 87 countries — out of almost 200 in the world. Over time, Street View will likely get better at covering the entire world, however, much of that may come down to user-generated content, which Google relies on for the service. Google also doesn’t compensate contributors who aren’t employees, so they’re left to fund their trips themselves, or try to get funding from tourism boards and travel agencies.

Editors' Recommendations

5 things we’d love to see at Google I/O 2023 (but probably won’t)
Google Pixel Watch on a wrist.

Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off on May 10. Don't let the words "developer conference" put you off, though, as Google I/O is one of the biggest and most exciting shows of the year.

We've already covered what we expect to see at Google I/O 2023, and that list includes the Pixel 7a, Android 14, and even a Google Pixel Fold. But although those are all things we're really looking forward to and expecting to see, there are a number of reveals we'd also love to happen ... but are extremely unlikely to appear on the grand stage.

Read more
The Google Pixel Fold may launch a lot sooner than you expected
Alleged dummy model of the Google Pixel Fold.

Google is apparently closer to launching its first foldable phone a lot earlier than leaks had predicted. WinFuture, citing information received from sellers, reports that the Pixel Fold is lined up for a market release in June. It appears that Google will at least give a brief teaser of the phone at its I/O developers conference in May, alongside the budget-centric Pixel 7a.

The report adds that Pixel Fold is the official marketing name of the foldable phone, and it will at least be up for grabs in the European markets in the second week of June. The eagerly awaited phone will be sold in a sole 256GB storage configuration, while color options on the table are Carbon and Porcelain.

Read more
First Google Pixel 8 Pro renders reveal some surprising changes
Leaked render of the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Once again, and in an unsurprising turn of events, Google has missed the leak train. Leakers @OnLeaks and SmartPrix have leaked rumored renders of the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro. Going by the Pixel 7's launch date, the next Pixel flagship has leaked a good six months ahead of its official introduction.
Google's terrible track record aside, let's discuss the leaked renders. It looks like the company's design team is favoring rounded edges again. The Pixel 7 duo was an improvement over the boxy looks of its predecessor, and the Pixel 8 Pro only appears to add more of that rounded corner profiling. It actually looks good, albeit a bit wider.

The overall design remains more or less the same. Google is sticking to the dual-tone approach with glass on both sides, and a metal frame that also extends over at the back to form the horizontal camera strip. Another change compared to the Pixel 7 Pro’s dual cut-out design is that the Pixel 8 Pro only has single elongated pill-shaped outline housing all three camera sensors.
This triple-lens setup likely includes a primary high-resolution snapper, an ultra-wide angle camera, and a periscope-style telephoto zoom shooter. There’s another round cutout right below the LED flash, but it’s unclear if it’s a macro or depth camera, or some kind of IR or a specialized photosensitive sensor. 

Read more