Mapping Dubai

The Makani project is going to put every building in Dubai on the map

Area Guides
Area Guides

No need to be perplexed anymore by Dubai’s growing network of streets. Dubai Municipality’s new Makani number system aims to put every building in Dubai on the map. Benita Adesuyan explains.

Giving instructions to taxi and delivery drivers on how to get to your office in Dubai often requires the acquisition of new vocabulary, seeking out other major landmarks for reference, and describing every roundabout and U-turn, especially in some of the city’s newer residential districts. The Roads and Transport Authority has undertaken previous projects to ensure that all Dubai’s streets are named over the next five years, and the latest street-finding initiative, operated by the Dubai Municipality, is Makani. The system issues every tower block, villa, office, hospital and hotel with a unique 10 digit number that aims to ensure that every building can be located to within the square metre.

Over the last few weeks Dubai residents will have received their Makani numbers, and seen the poster up in lobbies and hallways as the initiative has now been rolled out around the city. So if you were a bit befuddled by the numbers in your apartment block, here’s how it works.

What is Makani?
Makani is an app, which you download on your mobile or computer, developed by Dubai Municipality to locate every building in the city. Every structure is given a 10 digit code, and if the building is particularly large, with many entrances, such as Dubai Mall, each entrance will be given a different unique coordinate.

How do you use it?
It’s great that your building has an identifying number, but how will that help anyone actually locate you? Well, as Makani is available on both Android and iOS platforms, all residents have to do is download it onto their smartphone or device and input their Makani number for home or office, or wherever they happen to find themselves. If you’ve already got it on the side of your building then type the Makani number on your smartphone and the location of the particular building will become visible on the map. If you are in a location where you don’t know the Makani number, there is also the option to enter the address of the building on the app and it will give you the number of the building. Users can also share their location using social media, WhatsApp and email.

What are the benefits?
One of best benefits of the system is to assist the emergency services. If an ambulance or the fire brigade needs to get to you quickly, they can request the Makani coordinates and pinpoint you when it really counts. If you live in a high-rise, it’s worth making a note of the code and keeping it somewhere visible, or by the phone so it’s always close to hand.

Makani also works really well for those who work in transport or making deliveries, as the handy app will also give you the possible routes to your destination, and the app is also available in the form of a GPS navigator, launched in association with Garmin. The handy app itself will also offer you traffic updates. On our trial runs we have found that the app can be slow to load data or it stops working unexpectedly, which could be due to our device, but when it is running it’s a simple and efficient locator.
Download the app free at Appstore and GooglePlay,

More apps to help you navigate the city

RTA Dubai
This RTA app provides Metro users with a host of useful information to make getting around easier. The app offers an integrated approach to transport and offers a taxi booking service, and calculates your Nol metro fare.
Free. Available on Android and Apple devices

GSmy city
A great digital companion for tourists and residents that want to explore on foot. The free app provides maps and suggests walking routes around major landmarks, nightlife, shopping and arts and culture for pedestrian explorers out and about.
Free. Available on Android and Apple devices,

Dubai mParking
This app makes it easy for drivers in Dubai to buy parking tickets, and avoid hefty charges. It will notify motorists when they are in free parking areas, and reminds you when your ticket is about to expire.
Free. Available on Android and Apple devices,

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