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The 2.5m$ GhanaPostGPS – Exclusive Technical Details from Vokacom – Part 3

This will be the last in the 3-part articles on the GhanaPostGPS System and the very likely, wrong unnecessary deployment choices made by Vokacom. In this article, we talk about the GhanaPostGPS and its use of the Google Maps and the claims of paying up to 400,000$ a year.

Read ’bout part two here:

And part one here:

But before you go, “Aaah, but the CEO of Vokacom, Nana Osei Afrifa, came just yesterday to clarify no amount is being paid for Google Maps”, wait until you finish this article.

In an email to me (although before his public statement), he implies Vokacom is paying something to Google Maps. The keyword is, Implies!

Here’s a snippet of the email, of which we’ve been discussing over the past two episodes in this series of articles.

Email from Vokacom about Google Maps

Some clarification:

When I received the email on which this 3-part articles are based on, I did not know at the time the email was from the CEO of Vakacom. I only assumed the email was from an internal developer who’s worked on the application when I read the part: “…from one Tech person to the other,…”

Long story short, the email I received, although was from a Vokacom Developer, the developer also happens to be the current CEO of Vokacom, Nana Osei Afrifa.

It only triggered me to check the email signature after reading the article below, only to learn the email I got was from the CEO of Vokacom.

“Ghana is Not Paying $400,000 to Google” on GhanaWeb.

“Go beyond 100k hits per day”?

“For the googlemaps api, u know you cannot go beyond 100k hits per day; unless you are subscribed to the enterprise edition.” – Vokacom Developer (now we know it was the CEO)

Isn’t the CEO naive in relation this?

The problem:

As I explained in the “GhanaPostGPS Cost Analysis Paying 400k$ to Google“, it is almost impossible for the Web Application of the GhanaPostGPS to hit 100,000 requests a day.

“We dimensioned the enterprise requirement as 1million customer downloads with 100k users clicking the platform 3 times per day” – Vokacom CEO

Why this kinda reasoning? Why and how?

Why dimension for a million customers when you’ve not even launched your application? It ain’t as if it is gonna take a million years to migrate onto a paid plan. It is as simple as enabling payments.

So why take the effort to subscribe and pay for the enterprise when you AT THE MOMENT do NOT NEED the power of enterprise unless he could look into the future and saw the traffic trends.

Even with that, his foresight was flawed, again on the basis of this. There is NO way the web application part of the GhanaPostGPS is going to go behind 100,000 hits per day. Mark my words. And I can prove why.

I hope I’m proven wrong, with valid analytics from Google Maps that they’re hitting 100,000 requests a day and beyond.

The Facts:

Google Maps API for Android has UNLIMITED requests per day.

Google Maps API for iOS has UNLIMITED requests per day.


Pricing Scheme Google Maps API – Source

Therefore, in effect, they’re paying 400,000$ just to subscribe for the enterprise when actual billable traffic from the web won’t even reach 1,000$ a month? Just why?

What kind of presumptuous attitude is this, which is costs unnecessarily?

“…clicking the platform 3 times per day…”

Is the application social media or what, that someone, after grabbing the address for his/her house or residence to fill a form (surprisingly the person did that on the web, when he/she has the Android or iOS app on their phone?), he/she will keep going to the application for what?

For the record, it is JUST an addressing system. IT DOES NOTHING else. After grabbing the details and writing it down or memorizing, the app is not useful! Mission Accomplished.

There’s nothing else apart from a digital address in the app, that someone would go clicking 3 times.

And why dimensioned for 3 times, and not 20 or 50? or 1? Any research to back the choice of dimension?

Why buy and pay in cash, for a Trailer Truck, when you don’t even know the size of your cargo? In this case, we’re looking at about 50 cement bags, which a simple standard Kia commercial truck could do the job?

These Vokacom guys are lightyears ahead of themselves, except they took a huge sum of the ordinary’s taxpayer’s money along with them into the future!

The point is the decision to dimension 3 times a day visit was baseless and out of a whim, motivated by the lack of appreciation of the ordinary taxpayer’s money and a way to get bigger cuts. Or?

With Android and iOS requests going for unlimitedly free, there is NO way only the web requests should go above 100,000 requests a day. That’s just about 70 requests per minute each day. In other words, 70 people use the GhanaPostGPS application ON the WEBSITE, every minute within a day.

Considering people spend time in apps although their equivalent version exists online, there is NO way 100,000 web requests limits would be reached.

And there’s more!

Usage Limits Workaround – Caching

Caching, in this context, would simply refer to a way to temporarily store requested locations and their information somewhere. This would mean, when a user requests for the SAME information, instead of going to Google Maps to fetch it, which would count as a request on the quota, the information would be retrieved from the cache (temporal storage).

Even Google Maps encourages this optimization:

And for good reasons.

Needless to say, Vokacom gave absolutely little thought to how they would build the GhanaPostGPS application and how to minimize cost.

Heck, taxpayer’s money is no man’s money.

Caching could half the number of requests going to Google.

Concluding Thoughts

The CEO says, No we’re not paying anything to Google.

Managing Director of Ghana Post also says Ghana is paying 400,000$ to Google. The script of which the Managing Director read from was very likely written by Vokacom.

In the email from Vokacom’s CEO, he implies something is being paid for, which he didn’t state the figure.

Now the question is, Which is Which?

This marks the last article in my 3 part series on the Ghana Post GPS System.

Lemme know your thoughts in the comments below.


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