top of page
  • Denrazir Atara, Faculty Advisor at University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines

USTP - AGES YouthMappers Joins AER's COLLABDev OSM Training and Mapathon

Action for Economic Reforms (AER) is a Philippine non-government organization engaged in research and advocacy. It conducts policy analysis and advocacy on macroeconomic reforms, universal health care, industrial policy, freedom of information, among others, and key issues of the day.

Coalescing Organizations towards Locally Led Actions to Boost Development (COLLABDev) is a partnership initiative of AER and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote human-centered, data-driven development in the Philippines. One of the main components of the COLLABDev project is to promote the development of existing open geospatial communities and data, especially in the 14 sites from the six provinces covered.

On October 8, 2021, the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) as one of the partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Mindanao, signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to assist Local Government Units (LGUs) in the drive to use data to craft policies and to implement projects and programs of the COLLABDev Project.

The Association of Geodetic Engineering Students (AGES), the official student body of the Department of Geodetic Engineering and being the official YouthMappers Chapter of USTP, joined the training and mapathon on November 22-23, 2021, from 10:30AM-4:30AM (PHT) with 42 AGES YouthMappers volunteers who signed up for the session.

The training is said to be the first in-person training of the COLLABDev Team as prior trainings and mapathons were only held via Zoom Meetings. Due to the large number of participants and the provisions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force, the session was divided into two batches. The first batch of participants was joined by 23 AGES YouthMappers volunteers and 3 volunteers from the LGU, and the second batch was joined by another set of 19 AGES YouthMappers volunteers.

The training was spearheaded by AER’s GIS Specialist Mark Aimon Pangan who introduced free and open source tools in field mapping and data collection (specifically Kobo Toolbox) in the morning session and the ID training and mapathon proper in the afternoon session.

DAY 1 (November 22, 2021)

Participants on this day were mostly YouthMappers freshmen students and were new to mapping with OpenStreetMap. They were able to map on their own and with the help of the facilitators, all their concerns were raised and answered.

Among the participants were also from the LGU. Three volunteers from The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) were also taught how to map. The picture below shows Sir Aimon, the 3 LGU volunteers together with Dr. Fajardo, the Extension Services Director of USTP and Engr. Mabulay, the Research and Innovations Director of USTP.

The first day of training and mapathon was indeed a success as everyone was able to map at least one tile.

DAY 2 (November 23, 2021)

Just like day one, day two started with an introductory session and field mapping with data collection via Kobo Toolbox. All the participants in the session were sophomore YouthMappers volunteers, and most of them didn't have experience in mapping and using free and open source tools (i.e. Kobo Toolbox).

There was also a training session on using ID for editing in OpenStreetMap prior to the Mapathon session in the afternoon.

Claydel Nalugon, the AGES YouthMappers Commissioner, helped in facilitating the mapathon.

Overall, the training and mapathon were a success and we would like to thank the COLLABDev Team and Sir Aimon for training the volunteers. We are looking forward to the mapathons next month and also the field mapping in January, hopefully.

You can help us map out Cagayan de Oro by going to our project task at HOT Tasking Manager.

About the Author:

Denrazir Atara is a Geodetic Engineer working as a full-time instructor at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He is one of the pioneering faculty of the Department of Geodetic Engineering. Currently, he serves as the advisor of the YouthMappers Chapter of the university.


bottom of page