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Published On: Thu, May 31st, 2012

Plotting the City of Goodwill: Taking a peek on Let’s Map Tacurong City! Google Mapping Seminar/Workshop

(Editor’s Note: The following  post is contributed by Ariesha Faith Martinez Dimaano, a BA Communications-Speech student of UP Mindanao who joined the Tacurong MapUP.)

It will be one ordinary Sunday. That’s what I thought.

May 20 was different. Well, at first, when I was told that I’d spend a day of my weekend with work, it was not cool. But then, things were about to change for the better.

Eight o’clock in the morning, I stepped into the Audio Visual Room of Notre Dame of Tacurong College where the Google Mapping Seminar/Workshop will be held. It felt strange, literally and mentally. For one, I went there to observe and document the event so I can write about it – and nothing else. What I did not know is that I’m about to be a better citizen of this city.

Approximately fifty people participated “Let’s Map Tacurong City!”, a number that exceeded the expectations of the organizers for this event. There were only about 25 to 30 people who registered online, but then the overwhelming number of walk-ins made them more motivated to conduct the seminar/workshop. Dr. Remo-Tito A. Aguilar, organizer of the Map Up, said that the idea of mapping Tacurong City started when he attended the Google Map Maker Summit in General Santos City together with two other mappers, Christian Carillo and Dennis Teo.

“The idea started to crop up after we saw that (many points of interests) Tacurong City wasn’t mapped yet on Google Maps. The low satellite image resolution probably is the main obstacle to mapping Tacurong. So we thought that maybe it’s time that we start mapping Tacurong City and face this obstacle headon,” he added.

Dr. Aguilar is not alone in making this Google Mapping seminar/workshop possible. Organized by Tacurong Online and Google, together with the SOCKSARGEN Bloggers, LGU Tacurong, Department of Tourism, Notre Dame of Tacurong College and supported by FreBros Technology, Arkowa Arts, Palm Bistro and Little Einstein School, “Let’s Map Tacurong City!” will mark the City of Goodwill and bring it to the rest of the world.

Educating for geo-mapping.

Settled on my seat, I started to think of how this day would turn out to be. And then I heard, “Why map Tacurong City?” – reality broke in. One of my questions are about to be answered.

During Dr. Aguilar’s small introduction, he mentioned the essence of conducting this Map Up seminar/workshop. First, if we do not map up Tacurong City, no one else will; not even Google. I believe I was engaging with the thought after that statement. Also, it promotes the city for opportunities; it attracts investments and visitors; it creates open business climate; and it helps in peace and order, and crisis management. And right then, everybody was ready to work on with their laptops.

As an open and free mapping seminar/workshop, participants come from different sectors and walks of life. In my interview with Dr. Aguilar, he said, “Most of the participants are students. But we also invited people from the Joint Task Force Talakudong, the PNP, and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. Also, we invited people from the business chamber of Tacurong for the business establishments. We also invited tourists for places that hold interest in tourism as well as the owners of business establishments.”

One of the SOCKSARGEN bloggers, Mr. Alexis Chua, instructed the basics before mapping in Google Map Maker. Participants created and signed in with their Google accounts before they could use and work on with the software. A milestone was also made during this event since Tacurong City, through its participants, filed a field petition for better resolution of our city in Google Maps.

Right after Mr. Chua, another Google Geo Advocate in the person of Mr. Bernardo Arellano, taught the specifics of Google mapping. A step by step tutorial was made, with personal assistance from the bloggers themselves. Adding new places, landmarks, streets, establishments, and other structures were attained by the participants. Also, editing, reviewing, and deleting features were shared by the mentors.

While everybody tried to apply these learnings with their computers, I have to deal with it with my cellular phone. Seems hard, but the fast internet access made the difficulty lighter. Speaking of cellular phones, a lecture delivered by Christian Peter Carillo from the City Planning and Development Office was about tracking trails using a GPS device. GPS or Global Positioning System is commonly used by the military for mapping.

The rest of the afternoon concentrated on mapping using Google Map Maker as well as tracking trails for those who have GPS enabled phones. Having experienced a little editing myself, I must say that beyond enjoyment, everyone was able to contribute for the development of Tacurong City.

Tacurong Mappers busily applying what they've learned so far during the Tacurong MapUp

Aspiration for more mappers

When the event is about to end, Dr. Aguilar recommended the participants to conduct Map ups for their own communities and sectors. He also assured that the organizers will be there whenever they need help if they decide to create such activity.

“Since this is an introduction, we are planning to focus more on the different routes like business troops, students, and others like disaster prevention. So, more or less, this is a jump-off activity to kickstart mapping activities for Tacurong. The participants today will carry the information taught to their respective sectors, and may kickstart mappings if they want to,” he further stated.

Miss Emilee Jamorabon of the City Tourism Council of Tacurong also expressed her thoughts regarding “Let’s Map Tacurong City!”. She said that this would greatly help in the community to be known on other places. This is because she believes that the current blurry image of the city on the map is different from the peaceful and tranquil Tacurong City that we are living in.

As I leave that room, I brought home a new experience. May 20 was not an ordinary day, for I have learned that my City needs me for its betterment.
It turned out well. I went home with new friends, new learnings, and a new shirt. ☺

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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  1. I am now in the process of organizing the same event here in Malaybalay City. I called it “LETS MAP-UP THE CITY OF THE FOREST-MALAYBALAY CITY”. Well written. I am congratulating Tacurong City for the Successful MapUp workshop….

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