Mapcodes — Revolutionary addressing system for Africa

Posted: March 4, 2014

A revolutionary way of translating a location or GPS co-ordinate to a short location code – Mapcodes – a solution for connecting to the ‘un-addressed’ in Africa.

Johannesburg, South Africa (21 February 2014) – mapIT, leading international digital mapping provider, is pleased to announce the adoption of an international standard for representing any location, a Mapcode. This revolutionary addressing system will affect businesses operating in SA and across Africa. mapIT will be incorporating mapcodes into every part of its technology value stack offered to clients and partners. The South Africa Post Office (SAPO) will be incorporating mapcodes into the SAPO National Address Databases.

The Mapcode system was designed specifically as a free, brand-less, international standard for representing any location on the surface of the Earth by a short, easy to recognise, remember and communicate “code”, usually consisting of between 4 and 7 letters and digits. The short length of a mapcode is the key differentiating factor between coordinates and other codes. They are precise to a few meters, which is good enough for every-day use.

Kewal Shienmar Managing Director of Mapcode Foundation commented “Since its roll-out less than a year ago, mapcode has been embraced throughout the world but particularly in the continents of Africa and India. Over the next years we expect a considerable uptake of mapcodes and believe that it will change the way we find people and places.

“We are delighted to learn of this wonderful initiative taken by mapIT. By adopting this technology at this early stage, mapIT has demonstrated its forward thinking and pioneering prowess. It places mapIT at the forefront of a major innovation and clearly paves the way for many more African organizations to run with the baton and bring mapcode to full usage in South Africa and its neighbours. “

For Africa what this means is a solution to the endless struggle to connect an address to people, properties, Points of Interest etc. Service delivery constraints due to the lack of addressing systems are a thing of the past. The challenges faced by emergency services failing to find addresses for a patient or police not making it in time to a crime scene due to lack of address information is a thing of the past. Not being able to make use of eCommerce and have a basic right like home deliveries not working in Africa is a thing of the past.

In most African countries both the native language and English name is used for an address resulting in variations of spellings which makes it difficult for both locals and tourists visiting the country. Mapcodes solves this with a unique and simple code to remember.

Quote’ Etienne Louw, Director Sales & Marketing for TomTom Africa – “Never in my 28 years of specialising in location based services and solutions have I seen a solution as simple and powerful as this that will change the face of how we use location aware systems in Africa and the rest of the ‘un-addressed’ world overnight, forever. Now Mr Cement Dude operating on a street corner in Lagos can become part of the modern world of location based marketing and direct customers to his business – this is awesome”.


  • Carey Dodd
  • Senior Marketing Manager
  • +27 12 003 0753

About Mapcode Foundation

A Mapcode represents a location. Every location on Earth can be represented by a Mapcode. Mapcodes were designed to be short, easy to recognise, remember and communicate. They are precise to a few meters, which is good enough for every-day use. Mapcodes were developed in 2001 by Pieter Geelen and Harold Goddijn, soon after the GPS satellite signals were opened up for civilian use. It was decided to donate the Mapcode system to the public domain in 2008. The algorithms and data tables are maintained by the Stichting Mapcode Foundation.

About mapIT

mapIT, a division of TomTom Africa, offers businesses high quality digital maps with accurate and extensive coverage Africa and across the globe. Furthermore they offer this map data on the world’s foremost Location Based Services (LBS) platform, deCarta. mapIT are an all-encompassing digital mapping company. Working together with TomTom Africa and Partners, mapIT establishes innovative and comprehensive suites of digital mapping platforms to position itself as the leading international enabler of accurate location-based platforms throughout Africa.

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