Eulogio Empio was just another government staff, not until you have seen how his Google mapping hobby that he does once a week, of maximum of one hour per session, has helped Silay City.
A graduate of business management and a statistician by profession, Mr. Empio has turned his hobby into a personal advocacy to advance the City Development Planning Office.
Mr. Empio was one of the main speakers of the Philippines Map Makers Summit - Visayas Leg, where around 70 map makers from the Visayas gathered at University of St. La Salle, Bacolod on April 12 to be updated with the latest developments on the Google mapping innovations.
Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), provided the wireless broadband connectivity for the major legs of the event.
In his presentation, Mr. Empio shared real experiences on how they have used Google Maps in the City Development Planning of Silay.
Here are some interesting highlights of how they had used Google Maps:
1. SETTLING CONFLICT. New sea boundary between the cities of Silay and Talisay were settled by suggesting a map defining the boundaries amenable to both cities in concern.
2. CONSERVATION EFFORT. Each areas with unique flora and fauna attributes are mapped and assigned a tag. These collected tags form part of a unique plot in identifying effective strategies in preserving these natural resources.
3. DISASTER MAPPING. When Silay was affected by a devastating flood in 2011, Silay employed Google Maps in tagging areas affected thus improving the relief operation distribution system. The maps also provided rescuers idea on the nearest rescue center, schools and hospitals.
4. UPDATING LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT'S DATA. Instead of relying for an engineer to plot a city map that takes months or years to accomplish, a well marked, tagged and updated city in the Google Map can easily be printed out on a per need basis.
5. PLACES AND DIRECTION. A side from its colorful culture and the arts, the city of Silay is home to more than 31 ancestral houses duly acknowledged by the National Historical Institute (NHI). With Google Maps, these historical landmarks and tourist destinations are easily reached by choosing your location and identifying your destination.It has further allowed them to easily track venues for restoration.
6. REFERENCE IN THE CITY DEVELOPMENT PLANNING. In less than a week, the city was able to use Google Maps in proposing a hacienda to proposed seaport road or making use of the imagery to identify a possible development of a future baywalk along the coastal road.
Mr. Empio's example are just some of the benefits of a well planned neighborhood, town and cities.
GOOGLE MAP MAKER SUMMIT
This year’s Google mapping event is intensified. The gathering in Bacolod is just one of the three venues identified for April. For the whole year Google, with the help of the technology users group and developers group (GTUG/GDG) and Smart, will stage at least 80 Google Mapping events. The goal is simple: " to provide reliable, quality and up-to-date maps of our neighborhoods, localities, towns and cities."
"These maps becomes handy in time," says Aileen Apolo-de Jesus, Google's Outreach head in SouthEast Asia.
It can be recalled that the Google Maps of Iligan and Cagayan De Oro made by local mappers were one of the relied tools during the rescue and relief operations of the government and the private sector.
Wayne Dell Manuel, awarded as the Winner of the 2010 Google Map Maker Global Competition, was one of the speakers of the summit who provided step-by-step process on how to properly discussed the do's and don'ts of mapping. Mr. Manuel's mapping contributions helped rescue workers locate victims during Typhoon Ondoy.
Google acknowledges that we don't have a complete and well mapped towns and cities in the Philippines. "But with every mappers effort, we can map the future together," says Aileen Apolo-de Jesus, Googles Southeast Asia Outreach head.