Zimbabwean Man Travels Hundreds of Kilometers for Google Street View

Zimbabwe is well known for things that reflect rather badly on the country. Their famously devalued currency, for example, or their notoriously underperforming cricket team. In the barrage of negative information we receive about Zimbabwe, if we get any information in the first place that is, we often forget that Zimbabwe is a place full of incredible natural beauty. The lush savannahs of the African country are not all that is on offer either, there is architectural beauty as well. It was once quite difficult to see these things without actually going to the country since Zimbabwe barely has any street view on Google Maps.

All of that has changed thanks to one man: a graduate of the University of California by the name of Tawanda Kanhema. Unsatisfied by the lack of attention Zimbabwe’s natural beauty got, Kanhema went back to Zimbabwe for the US and travelled hundreds of kilometers with a bunch of 360° cameras so that he could get all of Zimbabwe’s important areas and landmarks on Google maps. According to Kanhema, the trip cost around five thousand dollars in total, a sum of money that he saved up himself so that he could do this for his country. A main camera that he used (Insta360 Pro 2) was provided by Google, though, through a camera loan program that the company uses to make it easier for people to upload images directly to Google Earth and Google Maps.
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This is an example of how Google Maps is in many ways the collective effort of a community. We are building these properties that we are using to improve our day to day lives. If you live in a country that you feel is underrepresented on the internet, take a leaf out of Kanhema’s book and go out to change that.

Tawanda Kanhema traveled over 800 kilometers to bring Zimbabwe on Google Street View
Photo: Tawanda Kanhema and Casey Curry

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