My Something Worthwhile…


Before coming to Singapore, when I was free in my last days in Karachi after leaving my job, I was involved for a while in the redesign of ApnaKarachi.com. A major part of the overhaul was the new section of ApnaKarachi Maps which provide street-level maps of the city of Karachi. I was in charge of developing the back end of the maps section and as well as managing the people involved in it. We planned to finish and deploy the site for the public before I’d leave for Singapore, but tweaks here and there made maps a little late. I completed the major chunk of the work when I was in Pakistan, and while in Singapore I generally just made things work accommodating the “wish list”.

The ApnaKarachi Maps are now live for sometime now. The site itself has been redesigned and different sections added to it. Its now “bigger and better” in the true sense.

The basic motivation behind the Maps was that Pakistan per se doesn’t have any worthwhile representation in major map sites like Google or Yahoo! Maps, so we intended to provide that kind of information and facility to our people. We have just started with Karachi, other cities would definitely on the way.

As everybody knows that I’m a pretty unassuming guy and I generally don’t do any kind of self-embellishment, but the purpose of this post is to solicit feedback and ideas to make the Maps better and more useful. It’s seldom that we do something worthwhile for our country/people, and while such an initiative is going on and you can be a part of it, then you must.

Please also spread the word around. This service is solely provided for the benefit of people, so the more people use it, the more we would be in the position to improve it.

PS: Don’t forget to say some nice words to me!

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29 Responses

  1. Neat! Good work.

    Waisay, ApnaKarachi guys seriously need to get a new logo IMO

  2. Thanks Raza. Yeah we’ve been mulling over a new logo, but haven’t come across anything real imagination-capturing and we are already hooked up real bad to make the infrastructure self-sustainable.

    Point noted btw.

  3. Wow this is great. I will definitely give some feedback as soon as I get a chance.

  4. Thanks Bubblie πŸ™‚

    BTW can anyone please write a post about it also :$

  5. cool stuff, cool stuff.
    Whats with meera’s post being the top post on your blog? lol

  6. I can’t help it getting the most hits, mainly through search engines. I was seriously considering removing the posts and/or pictures, but then I am too lazy to expound upon the benefits of it πŸ˜›

  7. ive added a line about it in one of my posts.

  8. […] the first street level representation of the city. One of the developers described the maps on his blog in these words: The basic motivation behind the Maps was that Pakistan per se doesn’t have any […]

  9. I have not checked it myself but as per a commenter on KMB that 90% markings are wrong.

    Over all, a very good attempt. Make this resource useful and credible by cross checking markers.

    Also, Firefox is throwing lots of javascript errors due to usage of deprecated APIs.

  10. Thanks for the feedback, Adnan. A project of this magnitude couldn’t succeed until the community is involved at large. As it always happens in the developing stages of any software, fresh input from different POVs is definitely required.

    As for the issue of markings being incorrect, I assure you that we have checked and cross-checked them and 90% of them would be correct, while 10% maybe wrong. It’s an issue of device versus map space, a technical concept, but the size of the icons had to remain constant however you zoom in/out. That would make some people to incorrectly assume that the markings are off-mark.

    As for the issue with Firefox is involved, we are working to make it compatible with Firefox 3, which users would be forced to update with soon πŸ™‚

  11. I understand the reason of marker now.

    following error being generated by “webticker_lib.js” at lne 40 . I am using FireFox 2.x.


    Element referenced by ID/NAME in the global scope. Use W3C standard document.getElementById() instead.
    http://jang.net/geo_ticker/includes/webticker_lib.js
    Line 40

  12. oops

    LOL

    i just checked what i posted above. the error was actually on Jang page. sorry! ehhe

  13. you should read comments by ppl on KMB

    specially by Shamsi.

  14. I do not want to boast, nor do I want to fly high, but the City Government unveiled their website a few weeks before we started working on the Maps. Sufficient to say that we (not ak, but few team members) were pretty much involved in the development of that site. The disappointment stemmed from that site only, because the City Gov website has maps, which are digital only in the sense that they are displayed on a computer screen with absolutely no searching/sorting capability.

    I assure you, these are the most comprehensive maps available as of yet of Karachi. I have worked closely with the vehicle tracking companies, and I know how they operate.

    That’s as far as the resurveying part goes.

    The thing that I fail to understand is that how the work done by the government (if there is any in the near future) would be integrated in GPS units and car trackers? That sounds like the biggest joke I have ever heard in my life. Neither the government would provide any car tracking/GPS companies such information, neither those private companies would be willing to loan those maps from the government, however cheap or even free.

    If the government had such concern, the map would have been there. SuparCo pretty much has it.

  15. Oh and I am commenting here cuz I don’t have a KMB account, or I guess I had, I just forgot the credentials. And I have exams in a few days so I don’t want to go through the hassle πŸ™‚

  16. it’s surprising that you didn’t mention the source of maps or am I missing something?


    I assure you, these are the most comprehensive maps available as of yet of Karachi. I have worked closely with the vehicle tracking companies, and I know how they operate.

    that’s great to know and i think apnakarachi’s map service could be utilized efficiently if yo make it a collaborative system for both end-users and developers. Since I lie in both categories so wouldbe more interested to know how this service could be utilized much efficiently by other Karachiites or system developers.


    The disappointment stemmed from that site only, because the City Gov website has maps, which are digital only in the sense that they are displayed on a computer screen with absolutely no searching/sorting capability.

    Google maps also depend on imagery services like Terra Data etc so its all required clever logic to use static images as a single stream of imagery source.

    I would recommend you to come up with an API type thingie so that outsiders could access actual Map content. Naqsha.net don’t provide API but they do provide ways to integrate map on other sites.

  17. Haha, no you’re not missing anything. I think Sid mentions it quite clearly in her blog about the source of the maps. You have the same question as countless others that how could such a small team come up with a project of such magnitude. I’ll say that its just amazing what a little intuition, determination and a GPS could do to such kind of a project.

    Coming up with an API is a good idea, but would take a while. About the ability to incorporate maps in different websites, a framework is in place for that and would be revealed pretty soon inshAllah.

  18. oh. frankly i hardly read lengthy posts on KMB-LOL

    amazing all was done manually. keeep it up and try to make it collabrative and open source system so that others devlopers can also participate.

  19. Noble thoughts, Adnan. But going open-source is one helluva hassle. Will look at it definitely.

    Meanwhile what need is some fresh input for services that make use of the map as the base. We’re open to valuable ideas.


  20. Noble thoughts, Adnan. But going open-source is one helluva hassle. Will look at it definitely.

    I agree with you. But making it collaborative system will be a good option(offcourse after verification of data).

    have you tried naqsha.net?

    and

    have you tried your app on mobile browsers?

  21. We had done adequate research before embarking on this project. A collaborative effort is something to think about, really. It’s not that we are wary of anything, but it requires some forethought about how the system should evolve in that instance.

  22. Apna Karachi has lost it’s dynamic updates, I see very static and quit ApnKarachi whereas new website Hamari Web has been playing very actively. I wish Apna Karachi Team to revamp the overall look of the website, after all it represents all Karachiets.

  23. I feel a lot more people need to read this, very good info!

  24. your article is contain off interesting information. nice job.

  25. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

  26. This is great article and so helpful.

  27. Great article nicely presented and informative article.

  28. I really like the fresh perpective you did on the issue. I will be back soon to check up on new posts! Thank you!

  29. Very interesting topic, can you post some further information on this subject.
    Thats great.i chose the right one for the right situation.thanks for sharing.

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