I first encountered Google Maps back in 2007. Some of my high school classmates uploaded a few satellite photos of their house. I initially thought that they owned their own satellites. Funny but true. Then, an old friend of mine told me that they used Google Maps. I never thought that Google would actually have that kind of feature because I thought it was just a search engine. No more, no less.
After familiarizing myself with Google’s then newest feature, I instantly fell in love with it because I found it interactive and informative.
Fast forward to 2012.
Three weeks ago, Kuya Avel of GenSantos.com invited me to attend the Mindanao-leg of Google Mapping Summit which was held at STI College in General Santos City.
I immediately responded to his invitation. Good thing GenSan is only three hours away from Davao City.
Kevin and I boarded the non-stop bus to the Tuna Capital five minutes before five in the morning last April 21. We arrived so early that the venue was still closed. Kevin just waited there while I went to the nearest McDonalds to eat breakfast.
Registration started at around 8:30 AM. The mapping summit was attended by some experts from Google who came all the way from Singapore and India. I didn’t expect that this summit would be a star-studded one.
There were more than a hundred participants who attended the Google Mapping Summit.
Basically, these are the topics that were discussed during the summit:
1) Improving local tourism – Tourists need map in order to explore the place properly. And because maps are becoming handy these days, updating one’s locality is today’s top priority. There are some places in Mindanao, particularly in Tacurong and Kidapawan that aren’t completely mapped. Even the mountainous parts of Davao City share the same predicament. Through Google Map Maker, this will help tourists to locate establishments and other places. The more information we have on a certain place, the more it is enticing to visit. Who would want to visit a place that lacks basic information? No one does.
2) Be a map maker – You only need a Gmail account in order to edit the map of your locality. You don’t need to become an affiliate of Google. Your local knowledge about your hometown is already enough. The moderators will just approve your submissions.
3) Disaster Preparedness – Remember when Ondoy struck Manila last September 26, 2009? Well, Google Maps played a significant role in locating the whereabouts of the missing people. Another similar incident occurred in Brisbane just last January 2011. The aerial view of the city was covered with brown floodwater. With the help of Google Maps, rescuers were still able to find the victims and bring them to safety.
4) Solving Crimes – Locating those criminals will be easier, with the help of Google Maps provided if the map is detailed and up-to-date.
People coming from different walks of life – businessmen, students, bloggers, police officers and even a nun attended this summit.
As a traveler, I can really tell that maps are very important. Days prior my trip, I would search the map of my destination at Google Maps and study it. Often times, I would end up disappointed due to lack of information. Now, you can be a map maker of your own province! Your contribution to Google Maps is a big help in promoting our country indirectly.
I would like to commend the Socsksargen Bloggers for the success of this event, especially to Kuya Avel Manansala of GenSantos.com and Kuya Orman Manansala of gandaeversomuch.com. Mapping has been more fun in Google!
Now, time to map up my city.