I am now at Hyderabad, India where I am attending the Google Map Maker Asia Pacific Map Maker Regional Conference.
Together with me are three other Filipinos, Wayne Manuel and Dante Varias who are both Map Maker Advocates and Allan Paolo Medrano, a Regional Expert Review of Map Maker.
I was invited primarily as my role as a Map Up Organizer in Mindanao which I have been doing since the first one I conducted on December 2009 with about 20 members of the Soccsksargen Bloggers.
That activity led me and a core group of Mappers to follow it up with more mapups the following year in 2010 and in 2011 (the year where I and brother Orman got invited to the first Google Geo Users Summit in Singapore).
For 2012, GenSan hosted the Mindanao leg of the First Mapping Summit on April which drew in more than 150 mapper volunteers and produced more than a thousand edits within two days.
Without let up, we conducted subsequent mapups in the cities of Kidapawan, North Cotabato; Tacurong, North Cotabato, Koronadal, South Cotabato; and Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Next month or so, hopefully we could start, in cooperation with the SHEEP- Computer Literacy Program Division of the City Mayor’s Office of General Santos City, the Map Your School Project. This will involve teaching the 26 Barangay High Schools throug a volunteer teacher and one student from each, the rudiments of Map Maker.
All these were part of my report this morning during the first major session of the Regional Conference and I am ecstatic that the other participants (from India, Pakistan, Kazakstan, Nepal, etc) were cognitive and appreciative of what I along with the other members of the Team Philippines have been doing so far.
I have received a lot of positive feedback about my speech specifically (and my being a pseudo stand-up comedian) and have shared more tips and tricks in organizing fruitful mapups or mapping parties (as we would like to call it in GenSan) among those who sought us out during the session breaks.
Other than being given the honor of sharing our advocacy to map Mindanao and spread the use of Map Maker, it was also a dream come true to visit Incredible India, despite the 26 hours of travel involving four airports and riding four airplanes! I couldn’t wait to explore more of it within the next few days as I fly to Delhi.
I need to thank the Google Map Maker Team of Abhinav Sarawgi and Ms. Jessica Pfund for making this happen. And of course, all these wouldn’t be possible without Google Asia Pacific Community Outreach Ms Aileen Apolo-De Jesus who has been the Mother Hen of Map Making in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and who has served as my inspiration since day one. Salamat gayud!
And to my friends who have provided me more than enough support for this trip, I owe you my lots of love and gratitude. You know who you are.
And so from India to all of you, NAMASTE!