Tuesday, 11 June 2013

GhCode – A Postcode Address System for Ghana: Solution to a myriad of location and directional problems.

A postal code or postcode is the most accurate way to identify a location. It helps to pinpoint addresses more accurately. Postcode is made up of a series of letters and or digits representing a postal address, originally developed for the purpose of sorting mail. However, the original concept has transcended to other application areas for national development and service provision.

But in Ghana, ask for directions to or locations of places and you will be treated to some historical antecedents – by the time this is completed, you would have forgotten about the beginning of the story and thus unable to find the space and place you are after. A typical example is “get to the centre of the town and ask for Nana Kwaku Mensah’s store, next to it is a filling station. Follow the road in front of the filling station and you will come to a junction with a big tree where they sell palm wine. Upon reaching there, ask for Mr Stiko the lawyer and even a child will take you there”.

Many organisations and institutions also dream of integrating an address system to their business operations and decision making. Their interest in an address system manifests in their operational documents such as application forms which requires a client to enter the building name/number, street, postcode/zipcode. However, because a postal code system is currently unavailable in Ghana, they end up using customers’ ID cards with their picture and name. Whilst researching, I asked a senior bank official: “How do you profile your clients to determine their credit worthiness?” “We only use the ID cards, it is just the face, retorted the Officer! No address!”

GhCode is a postal code system for Ghana that has been developed at the right time to solve the problems enumerated above and to underpin the country’s drive to achieve accelerated economic growth and development. It has been developed taking into consideration the unique characteristics of Ghanaian cities and towns and the dynamics of its people.

GHCode is ideal for a variety of applications including:
  • Speedy emergency services delivery such as crime fighting, profiling and ambulance services to reach emergency cases and determining the shortest routes to hospitals.
  • Local government tax collection analysis, projections and targeting.
  • Urban Planning and Development.
  • Marketing analysis.
  • Retail planning and management of territory.
  • Determination of insurance premiums by insurance companies.
  • Loan risk analysis and identification of customers by banks.
  • Utilities planning and billing.
  •  Incorporation to national identification system.
  • National electoral register.
  • Credit profiling of citizens.

In addition, it would enable the postal service of Ghana and other courier services to undertake door to door delivery of posts, whilst at the same time providing employment to solve some of the high rates of unemployment in Ghana. It would also boost ICT revolution in the country to underpin the running of services such as developing applications to determine nearest services including schools, hospitals, restaurants, churches, online marketing and shopping and other allied services.

Finally, the benefits of the GhCode system is immense and can only be limited by the imagination of the user.
Further details and sample GhCode can be found at www.ghcode.net

Anthony Tuffour.