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Published On: Sun, May 20th, 2012

Why Map Tacurong City?

“Why map Tacurong City?” asked one friend ” when it’s satellite image is outdated?  It’s even impossible to pinpoint a place, landmark or anything!”

I replied with questions “Why not?  Why not map despite the low resolution satellite image? Is it really impossible?”

“If not us, then who will?”

Yes, if we won’t start mapping our place, no one else will do it for us. Not even Google, per se.

Five years ago I was kind of frustrated when Google Earth came here in the Philippines and I couldn’t find Tacurong City in it. Tacurong City is that red marker in Mindanao in the “cross hair of Pan-Philippine Highway and Isulan-Tacurong road”, as seen on a scrappy red-geen-white satellite snapshot of Sultan Kudarat province. Many of us looked away, forgot this place temporarily and silently hoped one day someone will do “mapping of Tacurong city” for us. Five years passed, we’re still stuck on that same feature-less, blurry red-green-white satellite image. Albeit progressive, already booming and relatively peaceful, Tacurong City is the same red marker with a few misplaced and mislabeled  dots of “places” here and there. The same question is nagging right in front of us? Who’s going to map Tacurong city?  Are we going to look away again? Or should we do something to Map Tacurong?

When Google released Map Maker to the public, it opened the doors for users to “edit”, “place” or “review” places, markers or any point of interest in the Google Map. This offered new possibilities for us Tacurongnons, even if Tacurong City still got this low satellite resolution image . Coupled with other technologies like GPS and smartphones, we now have the power to put Tacurong, and all it’s places, achievements and progress in the Google Map. Map Maker is is free, openly available and relatively easy to use by anyone with only a few basic skills needed. With passion and diligence, the use of Map maker is our key into putting Tacurong City in the map.

What are the concrete benefits of mapping your place? During  Sendong, Google Map Ups  (a mapping session like what we are about to do) mapped evacuations centers for easier localization of relief operations. It even have a map of missing persons!

sendong Why Map Tacurong City?

Crisis response map during Sendong in Iligan City

Mapping of evacuations centers by Red cross speeded up help during calamities. That’s not saying mapping is helpful only during emergencies.

One good example is what a police officer in Gen San is doing to map police  precincts and their different offices inside their  camp. This maps aid clients of the PNP in locating different PNP offices as well as police precincts around General Santos City.

For more advance countries and cities like new york , they made a map like this, called “made in New York”, as a resource map for job seekers. Essentially, the map said “I’ve got a job here for you”.

madeinny1 Why Map Tacurong City?

Made in NY a job resource map for job seekers

For us Tacurongnons, the impact of putting Tacurong City on the Google Map is enormous -business and tourism wise. We have agribusiness that’s robust,  Talakudong festival to showcase, we have Baras Bird sanctuary that’s grabbing pages. Imagine you having the power to put your businesses on the map, where Global companies can look at your online business profile and easily access your location through Google map. Instead of us going to their place, with google maps, we bring them here, to Tacurong City. This is what I call mapping Tacurong City beyond just mapping Tacurong alone. If we follow through this interests on us by providing them, the tourists, investors, with a “map” of our place, maybe mapping Tacurong City isn’t just mapping  the city.

Convinced? “But what about the low image resolution?” you ask. “How do we map Tacurong with such blurry image on close up?”

That I should be thankful for your curiosity, for your willingness, for your volunteerism. Because that is exactly why are you here to learn the skills and overcome that temporary barrier. That’s why I highly urge you, even before this workshop, through emails, to maximize this FREE workshop of Map Maker skill and then sign the “request” for a better satellite image of Tacurong City. Many say we’re stuck in that blurry satellite image of Tacurong City. Today, you are saying, “No, we will map Tacurong City DESPITE, that blurry image! We already started it and we will finish it!”

Thank you and let’s map Tacurong City!

(This is the rallying speech, more or less, given by the author during the opening of the Tacurong MapUp Workshop last May 20, 2012 at the Audio Visual Room of the Notre Dame of Tacurong College Tacurong City)

About the Author

- I’m a traveler. I work fulltime as a medical professional. I go to different places most of the time I’m off my day job. I shoot photos for fun, hack computers for even more fun and play badminton as my exercise. And yes, I’m not rich.

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