Featured Map Makers: Faraz & Jabran

Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Name: Faraz Ahmad (farazilu)
Day job: Web programmer
Region mapped: Pakistan

Name: Jabran Rafique (جabran)
Day job: IT administrator
Region mapped: Pakistan

Faraz and Jabran are both Pakistani-born, high tech workers living in the United Kingdom. They both learned about Map Maker on the Internet, and they have formed a virtual team with a mission to map Pakistan. Although they live 400 miles apart and have never met in person, they collaborate on mapping Pakistan and providing other mappers with advice and tips on mapping the region.

Time lapse video of Gujranwala, Pakistan:


Faraz started using Map Maker shortly after it launched in 2008, and he is now the top mapper with more edits than any other user. Jabran found Map Maker a few months after Faraz. Both mappers started with their home towns and have subsequently mapped many cities in Pakistan. "It's like mapping your own world -- describing your world to other people. In the UK, we use Google Maps to find directions if we want to go somewhere. But we couldn't do that in Pakistan. This is a big opportunity to help other people find things," says Faraz.

Time lapse video of Karachi, Pakistan:


"I spend so much time on the Internet looking at new technologies. It's like a hobby for me to develop maps -- time spent positively because I know it will help others. In Pakistan, using Map Maker to find an efficient way to get somewhere can save a life in an emergency situation," says Faraz.

Experienced and accomplished mappers with more than 70,000 map edits between them, Faraz and Jabran collaborate with many others to map the region as well. Jabran explains, "I post on the group when I finish mapping a city. A fellow who just joined recently is making some edits near Lahore, adding names to streets and local businesses. So we help each other. If one can map it and another can name it, that's great. Someday I will open Google Maps and see all of Pakistan mapped!"

In areas of Pakistan that the virtual team knows less well, they use the satellite imagery on Map Maker to draw the roads. When they meet people from Pakistan, Faraz & Jabran ask them where they are from and what areas they know. "Then I drag them to Map Maker and ask them the names of roads, shops, hospitals, whatever. We're trying to make the maps more and more elaborate. Together we can make a difference."

Jabran recalls that, one weekend, a couple of guys with local knowledge of an area sat with him as he edited the maps -- here's one small example of an addition to the map he made based on their knowledge. "Great thanks to all those many people who agree to help in such a way," says Jabran.

Living in the UK, Faraz and Jabran use Google Maps extensively, particularly on their mobile phones, to find their way around and explore new places. Through their contributions to mapping Pakistan with Google Map Maker, their goal is to help all Google Maps users in Pakistan to find their way, too. We wish both of these Map Maker "power users" all the best in their efforts to map their worlds, and look forward to seeing their goal of completing the Pakistan map fully realized!

Posted by Jennifer Mazzon, Maps Community Organizer