GPS Helps Pizza Deliverymen Navigate India’s Crazy Street Addresses

Indian locations of Domino's are partnering with an app that uses GPS to guide deliveries to locations without real addresses.

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Nov 23 2015, 9:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Tracy Hunter

Ordering a Domino's Spicy Triple Tango pizza with a side order of Taco Mexicana Veg is about to get a hell of a lot easier if you happen to be one of India's roughly 1.3 billion citizens. It goes without saying that dealing with deliverymen can occasionally totally bite, but when you live in the second most heavily populated nation in the world and you don't even actually have an address, shit can and will go very wrong.

Thankfully, the Indian branch of Domino's—which is run by Noida-based Jubilant FoodWorks—totally has your back. The international pizza franchise will be allowing delivery customers to forego the use of a traditional street address in favor of a "smart address" that they themselves create. Simply put, each individual will be able to create their own identity, which a delivery person can then use as GPS coordinates to locate the customer. To meet this end, Jubilant FoodWorks has teamed up with a Hyderabad-based tech startup called Zippr.

Zippr was founded in 2013 and allows users to create their own eight-character alphanumeric code, which is attached to a user's profile. The code then allows a delivery person to access the customer's GPS coordinates. Domino's has announced that they will begin to use the service by the end of the year.

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Photo via Flickr user Veeresh Malik

How hard is it to find an address in India? Apparently, very hard indeed. As Quartz India puts it, "In Indian cities, house numbers and street names are mostly unencumbered by logic. You might think house number 132 might be close to 130, or H block will be next to G block, and you would be dead wrong." Landmarks are often used to direct people to a location—as in "the first house past the temple that's next to the laundromat"—but with the rapid rate of construction in India, that doesn't work well either.

According to Aditya Vuchi, who started Zippr, in India "depending on who is asking, you explain your address differently. You give landmarks and directions while telling a friend, a more formal one when telling the bank and a mix of the two while telling a delivery guy," he said. Obviously, there is a real need for Zippr there, and its utility goes well beyond pizza delivery.

But, let's be honest here: Pizza delivery is important. And thanks to Zippr's technology, which currently uses an enhanced version of Google Maps but can work using OpenStreetMap as well, pizza delivery just got a whole lot easier in the subcontinent.

Now, if only Domino's could finally come up with a way to avoid that damned Noid, we'd really be in business.