Samoa’s street addresses not far away with SkyEye

SkyEye has the technology to make individual addresses a reality in Samoa.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Fa’aso’otauloa Sam Saili, told the Chamber of Commerce membership at their monthly meeting the technology is ready to go.

Cabinet has already given its approval to name and number houses in Samoa. 

The work could be costly and take time, but Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said it is long overdue. 

A committee under the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet was established and shortly will deliver a report for Cabinet’s consideration. 

SkyEye was invited to join the committee last week after they presented their technology to Prime Minister Tuilaepa, who was very supportive, according to Fa’aso’otauloa.

Fa’aso’otauloa said the addresses would be easy to find using SkyEye’s Maua phone app, currently being developed with G.S.M.A Ecosystem Accelerator Funding, and eventually a new mapping app.

For now, the system will be used by private entities or the government, but if it was to become the official addressing system it would become completely public outside of Maua.

The company has divided the map of Samoa into two metre by two metre sections. Each point in the grid has a number, which denotes the address.

G.P.S. coordinates are taken from a location, and then the closest ‘Ala’ numbers to that coordinate is found. The Ala number will be more accurate than G.P.S. coordinates, which are not exact pinpoints. 

“Of course, if someone’s house is in between two points, we will have to make a decision which number to use but the system would tell you in centimetres which point is closer,” Fa’aso’otauloa said.

“There is not a possibility that two houses are within the same two metre span.”

SkyEye Technical Director, Unasa Nomeneta Saili explained the geospatial addressing system is future proofed to changes in the landscape, either from road developments or new buildings. It can also accommodate unique addresses for multiplexes with multiple stories. 

They are also entertaining physical "Ala tags" for the front door to make finding someone’s new address even easier.

The Samoa Post Office, the Planning and Urban Management Agency, under the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure would implement the addresses as well as issue new ones as new homes and businesses are built.

“It needs to first be adopted as the official addressing system,” Fa’aso’otauloa said. 

The government would remain responsible for any implications the addressing system would have on customary land registration, he added. 

He said Tonga’s Post Office is interested in adopting the Ala grid concept there, not only for the convenience but for the service to stay relevant in a modern, post-letters age.

If adopted as the official addressing system, "ala" numbers could be integrated into marketplaces like Amazon, and the Post Office would take on delivery from the wharf to the customer’s doors, Fa’aso’otauloa said.

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