Review: GhanaPostGPS

Welcome to our first App review on THE Microscope!

Disclaimer! This review is purely from MY test experience with help from my able reviewers. It is to let all Ghanaians and all who read have a tester’s view of the App under review and to bring out the great features and the not so great features and/or bugs which will require some working on to make the App better for consumption.

Our App under Review for today is GhanaPostGPS designed by Vokacom for the Ghana Post Limited and essentially for all Ghanaians.

Application Name GhanaPostGPS
Category Mobile App (Navigation)
Developer Vokacom Limited
Supported Platforms Android | iOS | Windows
Version Tested Version 5

The version tested (above) according to Google Play Store, was updated on October 20, 2017. Now this update came 14 days after it was first released and has seen 100,000+ downloads (which is good!). You can always download from any of the stores-App store, play store and the Windows store.

It was tested on an Android 6.0 phone.

GhanaPostGPS is a digital property addressing system which works with GPS to translate the coordinates to “a user friendly digital address”. This makes extensive use of navigation (maps) to point users to different locations/properties. It is a great initiative by Vokacom and Ghana Post Co. Ltd. to properly mark out the nation and they should be acknowledged for that. Kudos!

Let’s get started!

There are different sections in this app and I will review by these sections. Under each section, I will talk about both the great and the not so great features or the bugs which needs fixing.

Registration

So for a first time user, you are required to enter your Name both First and Last, and your phone number (which comes with number keypad, good!). On continuing, it sends a confirmation SMS which automatically gets picked by the App and then voila, you’re in.

Fig. 1 Animated splashscreen shows as application is launched.

          

Fig. 2 & 3 Registration and confirmation

It is worth noting that for this App to work effectively, your GPS (location) should be enabled. In case you forget to do so, the App alerts you to do so the moment you start it-very helpful.

          

Fig. 4 & 5 Enable GPS. Application ready for use.

Right after registering, the application takes you to the screen where your coordinates are taken for your address to be generated. After the address is generated, you can decide to save it or to go back and generate another address. Now since you would not under normal circumstances register for an App and close it before usage, I don’t expect GhanaPostGPS to always try to confirm your identity every single time. But that is what happens. The confirmation code will be sent as many times as you go back to the registration page, which is the only page pressing your back button will take you to. However, when you close the App and start it off again, this issue ceases. A fix is needed for this.

Usage

With the address generated, if it comes in green, it means your estimated accuracy is within 3-9m; yellow: 10-20m, and red above 20m. Against this background, it is worthy of note that to get the best accuracy, you should not be in an enclosed area e.g. within your room and trying to get the location for the house. The App will alert you while trying to generate an address while in an enclosed area.

             

Fig 6 & 7 Notification when in an enclosed area and finally address generated while in an open area.

Although you will get an address generated for you, chances are the address will be wrong and will not be the accurate one. I say this because I tried to get the address while in a room in an area of Accra (e.g. New Town) and the address generated was in a different but close area. (e.g. Kokomlemle)

Also since the App generates unique addresses, if you stand outside but stand at different points, different unique addresses will be generated for you. The region, district and post code will be the same but the unique address will change since your longitudinal and latitudinal points will differ. However, this (being in an open area) is the best method to generate your address. The App will show your street name and you can confirm by the name or using the street icon on the tabs at the base of the screen. GhanaPostGPS does a great job interfacing with Google Maps and Google Street View. This helps you to be sure of the place you are going to, especially if you are using another person’s digital address to locate the person. Kudos on that!

Point to note: if your address generated pointed to a different location, try going outside to an open area and retry.

It is very difficult to use any generated address for registration or verification. Trying to do this crashes the App. To register your address or have it verified, you will need to generate a new address. This is a no-no. It should not only be limited to that. If so, then the essence of saving a location is really limited. There should be the option to use any of the saved addresses for any other function one wants or as stated on the App.

Sharing and Security

GhanaPostGPS gives the option to share a digital address via various Apps installed on your phone. This is great as it is not limiting. The unfortunate thing however is only GhanaPostGPS can open the generated link for sharing well. All the others throw an error. Since they can’t restrict to only open with the App, the feature to open with other compatible applications should be revisited.

Also with the issue of security under sharing, opening with the browser shows a default 404 page which gives away information of the server. This is a vulnerability which can be exploited. To curb this, a more user friendly 404 page should rather be introduced.

Another area of security concern which is to be allayed is that of data security. Per the terms and conditions, the data collected on an individual is protected by the Data Protection Act 843  . So you can always refer to that Act and you will know the laws on how your data is to be kept and used, and if they breach, you can hold them accountable.

Register/Verify an Address

As we have already established, trying to register an already saved address always causes the application to crash. Hence there should be a feature which allows for already saved addresses to be registered and not for a new one to be generated each time.

So to register your generated address, the App requires you to enter an ID (passport, driver’s license or voter’s ID). This does not validate against any database hence one can put in any information as it receives any combination of characters given. For a national addressing system, this should be validated against an existing database of the respective identification system.

The address can be registered many times but if it is the same address, the newest will replace the previous. And this shows under My Registered Addresses. Initially it will show that is not verified, but after the session is restarted, the address will show as verified.

Fig. 8 Address registered and verified.

Privacy Policy

The privacy policy stated has details mainly for the website and not for the application. There is no information about the privacy of the App within the privacy policy but all that is captured within the Terms and Conditions.

Terms and Conditions

There is a very exhaustive terms and conditions for the usage of the App and you can always read to know what your usage of the App makes you bound by.

Emergency Services

As the test was done on the live App, some real world tests can only verify how responsive the emergency services are to notifications generated from this App. Hence stay tuned for an update. In the meantime, can you share with us your comments on the usage of GhanaPostGPS especially the emergency services and how the response and usage was?

Verify Address

As stated on the website of ghanapostghs.com, one should be able to verify an address by seeing the Verify Address button under profile however, it is Register Address which shows but the verification is automatically done for a registered address after the session is restarted.

That’s all for today folks…

GhanaPostGPS is a great initiative and as nothing good comes easy but needs to be tried and tested, I believe these are some pointers that Vokacom should take note of and work on them to improve on the App and make it better for all Ghanaians to use.

Meanwhile, #JackWhereAreYou?

Feel free to post your comments below.

 

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