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Mideast & North Africa


Just how valuable are digital maps to us?

The technology that powers services like Google Maps has become essential to our everyday lives. Digital maps have enabled our phones to become modern compasses that help us find the direction to important places and events, like a dinner with the in-laws you cannot afford to be late to in a new part of town or a job interview in a neighborhood known for its day-long traffic.

With more than one billion Google Maps users around the world, we wanted to better understand just how important digital maps are to our users. Which is why we partnered with marketing research firm Alpha Beta on a report analyzing the impact of geospatial services and digital maps on people, businesses, and society in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Screenshot of the report findings

The value of thousands of shortcuts
One of the most interesting findings of the study was the amount of time we save result of better navigation after consulting digital maps. More than 1,350 minutes were saved in the UAE per person and 825 in Saudi Arabia last year. By shaving off the time we spent on the road, we also saved fuel worth 4.4 billion dirhams in the UAE and 1.9 billion riyals in Saudi Arabia. Given the reduction of time spent on the road, better navigation can lead to a decrease in CO2 emissions by up to 11 million tonnes in Saudi Arabia and 10 million in the UAE.

Another insight worth mentioning was how digital maps can reduce emergency response time around the world. Better navigation can reduce response time by three and a half minutes for ambulances and by two minutes for fire brigades.

Digital maps help businesses too Geospatial services have substantial direct and indirect value for businesses. Geospatial businesses generate direct revenue from selling geospatial products or services, such as satellites or software. Indirectly, businesses across industries are using digital maps for market research, to improve their public customer profile, to find the best locations for their store network and, simply to increase sales.

Better purchase decisions, result of the information consumers found about businesses on digital maps, have saved people an average of 110 million hours in Saudi Arabia and 125 million hours in the UAE. While the results reveal great benefits for consumers, businesses, and society, there remains more potential to be unlocked by geospatial technology through a series of recommendations outlined in the report.

One of those recommendations is for businesses to increase their investment in and use of geospatial services to enhance the value and productivity of their business, attract new customers and boost sales. This report has helped us understand the value Google Maps generates to our users in the Arab world and we will work to make sure that we help you find the best way to your destination.