Did you ever see someone’s idea of “cute” in a sign (usually one prohibiting something or another (where they use a grouchy looking person or a cartoon character staring out at the world and saying “This Means You”)?
Well for years I have been right at the forefront of people who complain about not being able to find decent maps of the Philippines … and I notice that unlike many of my half-thought out Quixotic (sometimes Idiotic, but we won’t go there) quests, I have seldom marched alone.
The state of maps here in the Philippines has been poor to say the least. The The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), the government agency entrusted with this vital part of the country’s resources is, shall we say doing a sub-optimal job (I’d give you a link to their website so we could both read what they are up to, but the site has been loading now for more than 15 minutes and I do have other things to do today).
Recently, I have seen a lot of progress on the part of Google … some of you may look at the maps I frequently link to my blog posts, there is now a lot more readily available online and Google has even begun to recognize place names in the Philippines … the country is definitely coming out of the dark ages and getting “on the map”.
Full credit to Google where and when it is do … I’m smiling as I type this because Bob and I were just discussing another aspect of the services Google provides to us all and we both sort of share the same attitude that Google isn’t always the benevolent giant it sometimes appears to be. Still in all, you have to give credit where credit is due.
All the technical expertise and server horsepower that Google brings to bear on a problem, though, is really worth absolutely nothing if there is no information behind it. Here’s where the folks in the interesting article I am highlighting today come in:
RALLY de Leon, 38, likes to map out uncharted territory.
In the early days, he used paper and pencil. Nowadays, he goes around the city with a global positioning system or GPS device¯sometimes mounted on his helmet¯as he rides a bicycle around the city, recording tracks that he will later upload onto a mapping program.
He takes a car or a motorcycle on some of his mapping trips—and sometimes, he just walks.
The hobby helps De Leon in his business, a small courier service that delivers bulk mail¯such as bills and bank statements¯to addresses east of Manila. … read the full Manila Standard Philippine mapping article here.
Now in addition to the fact I thought the whole volunteer effort was newsworthy in itself, the (not so) hidden reason I focused on this today was to issue a challenge … to you and to me as well.
We all want better maps, it seems and we all realize that better maps won’t only help tourists, it will help businesses and government units do a better job as well.
So just what are you doing with that spare time that sometimes seems to weight heavy on your hands? An excuse to invest in kewl new technology, to travel and explore and then even have something to show for it at the end … sounds like one of those rare win-win-win situations to me … what do you think?