Google releases study quantifying economic impact of digital maps in KSA

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Street View.
Updated 21 October 2017
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Google releases study quantifying economic impact of digital maps in KSA

A Google-commissioned study conducted by marketing research firm AlphaBeta quantified the economic impact of services like Google Maps and Google Earth by looking at the benefits and value geospatial technology brought to consumers, businesses and society in 2016 in Saudi Arabia.
According to the study, modern mapping services have the potential to unleash consumer benefits worth over SR5.2 billion ($1.4 billion) per year by enabling people to:
l Travel faster: Digital maps reduced travel time by 16 percent on average in Saudi Arabia, placing the value of time saved at SR11 billion.
l Save fuel: By reducing travel time, digital maps helped save around 29 liters of fuel per car, worth SR23 in Saudi Arabia per year, that is 2.5 billion liters of fuel, worth SR1.9 billion in total.
l Be safer: Around 41 percent of digital map users in the Kingdom state it helps them identify security facilities (such as police stations).
l Speed up shopping: Saudi consumers save over 110 million hours per year from more efficient purchasing decisions. The value of time saved is SR4 billion (based on local wage rates).
“We want to help people in the region understand what Google Maps can do for them. To do that, we need to understand maps today and the impact they have on people’s lives, which is why we worked with AlphaBeta to conduct this study. While the results reveal great benefits for consumers, businesses, and society, there remains more potential to be unlocked by geospatial technology,” said Selim Edde, head of government relations and public policy at Google.
The report also outlines three recommendations key to tapping into the full potential of geospatial services:
l Governments can enable the promotion, adoption and implementation of the emerging applications of geospatial technology and data by adopting policies that support the collection, sharing, and use of geospatial data and services.
l Academia and civil society organizations can utilize geospatial technology to improve the efficiency of their major activities. Some applications include city planning, tracking environmental pollution, and maintaining important information on health and diseases.
l Businesses could increase their investment in and use of geospatial services to enhance the value and productivity of their business, attract new customers and boost sales.


Ford trains 1,600 motorists in Mideast, Africa in 2018

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ford trains 1,600 motorists in Mideast, Africa in 2018

Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) has wrapped up a successful 2018 having added programs in two new markets — Morocco and Madagascar — as well as having launched a women-only program in Saudi Arabia. The training program reached more than 1,600 inexperienced motorists in 10 cities around the Middle East and Africa.

Providing free training and instilling safe driving practices, the DSFL program offered an opportunity to gain experience in the four main primary driving skills: Hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management, and space management.

This year, Ford DSFL was run in the UAE (Dubai), Kenya (Nairobi), Uganda (Gulu Town), and four cities in South Africa (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, and Pretoria), while Casablanca welcomed Morocco’s first-ever DSFL for three days of training in October. 

Antananarivo in Madagascar also joined the DSFL family when it played host to 50 members of the media, and a train-the-trainer for distributor staff, in September, becoming the eighth market in sub-Saharan Africa alone to benefit from the introduction of Ford’s program.

In addition, on its return to Jeddah, Ford hosted the global debut of its DSFL for Her, a new customized version of Ford’s award-winning safe-driving initiative, helping to build confidence behind the wheel as participants in the Kingdom prepared to be among the first-ever women to be issued a driving license in the country.

The DSFL for Her course followed the landmark decision last year, as decreed by King Salman to lift the ban on females driving in Saudi Arabia.

“Safety continues to be a key priority for Ford, and providing campaigns such as DSFL can only help reduce the number of road accidents, and increase young drivers’ knowledge and confidence on the road,” said Jim Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. 

“Ford also made history in 2018 when it hosted the first-ever practical hands-on driving training for women in Saudi Arabia — DSFL for Her — specifically designed to accommodate Saudi females embarking on their first journey behind the wheel of a car. These are the kinds of occasions that make Ford exceptionally proud of the success DSFL has enjoyed this year, as the program continues its rapid expansion, and evolves to adapt to the needs of the markets in which it operates,” Graham added.

Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed drivers necessary skills beyond standard driver education programs. In 2008, the program expanded to Asia Pacific, and in 2013, Ford DSFL branched out into both Europe and the Middle East.

In 2017, the free program celebrated reaching the one-millionth newly licensed driver trained.