Hello! I’m Jane, a graphic designer and a digital advertiser from Accra, Ghana.
I discovered local guides two years ago through a friend. As digitally inclined as I am, I used to think Google map was only meant for finding locations and places. I would go to Google map, search for a restaurant, hotel and that was it. I had no idea you could actually share your experiences of the places through reviews with other users on the platform.

My friend and I love to travel so much, and I remember I’d notice him taking random pictures of the places, and I would be so mad as to why he isn’t taking pictures of me rather.

Eventually, I asked him why he does that and he disclosed the Google local guides program to me. He explained things to me as to how you can review places, add missing places and facts check on the map. I felt it was a fun thing to do apart from the idea of helping people and giving back.

When I started the local guide expedition, it was tedious and dull for me. It looked as if it was a huge task but now I go to places and take lots of pictures without considering my phone’s storage. Sometimes I would forget to take pictures of a particular place and I would feel so bad for not doing that.

There is this interesting thing I did as a local guide that I find very fascinating. I showed this same friend, who introduced me to the local guide program, how to upload videos as part of our reviews. He would complain to me that he’s been trying to add videos to his reviews but the app only allows pictures. I took him through the steps that I take to add videos to my reviews; I told him he can always give his everyday basic reviews where you only have to type and add pictures, after that he can search for the place on the map, scroll down and select “add pictures or videos “ , then tap a folder and select a video. He was so much grateful and super-proud since he was the one that introduced me to the platform.

Through my involvement in the local guides program, I’ve noticed that a lot of local guides in my city don’t focus on adding videos to places. Posting videos about places and locations gives the audience a real visual imagery about how the place really looks like. If a photo is worth a 1000 words, then I’ll say a video is worth millions of words! I’ve had people from the general public and administrators of certain places replying to my videos, thanking me for my in-depth contribution.

In the long term, having realized there are few female local guides in my city, I’m looking forward to equipping myself with more skills on Google maps so I can host meet-ups for female local guides, to teach them about diverse ways of exploring geographical location through Google maps.

Janet Owusu
Local Guide level 7
Accra, Ghana.