Organizing a Google Maps Geowalk for Business Mapping

The crisis mapping done during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and the followup mapping that happened due to Yolanda has increased my love for Google Maps hence I volunteered to organize a GBG Cebu Geowalk and mapUp.

My first encounter with mapping was way back when Typhoon Sendong left a devastation in my hometown in Iligan City. It was then that I coordinate with Aileen Apolo of Google who helped me with tools like the Google Maps and Google’s Person Finder to serve as an information drive when everything was very much chaotic for the people on ground.

@fleirecastro up next sharing her crisis mapping volunteer experience at the GDayX Philippines

@fleirecastro up next sharing her crisis mapping volunteer experience at the GDayX Philippines

Information is aid.

That was what I shared during the gDayx Philippines in San Juan. I was invited to do a crash talk (golly, I really wasn’t prepared) about crisis mapping and my experience with all these crises and the tools used.

I shared about the three crises – Sendong, 7.2 earthquake, Yolanda. During times like these, there will always be a great need not just for relief but also for information as a form of aid.

Had to mention this because whenever you are asked what you are currently doing to help (in a crisis situation), the people I knew expected exactly that – relief operations. When you say you are doing an information drive instead, they get glossy eyed and suddenly you are less noble in their eyes.

Information is still a form of aid. And I do commend the volunteers who have given their time and effort to provide such aid during these times.

Then, when I got back from gDayX, it was my turn to organize a Geowalk and mapUp. It was a collaboration between volunteers, sponsors, and GBG Cebu to plot business locations in Cebu. During our session, we were able to plot Persimmon in Mabolo, Cebu and Pueblo Verde in Basak, Lapulapu City.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Thank you GBG Cebu members, volunteers, and sponsors for helping out on our first Geowalk and MapUp! Til next event!” type=”image” alt=”20131207_175149-SMILE.jpg” ]

So what benefits do you get out of mapping with the community?

When you gather volunteers in a mapUp, you help gather information and data of these places for the community. When the community has information, they benefit from it in case of crisis or impacts their visibility on the web.

Who did you partner with?

We were lucky to partner with Aboitizland, Inc.  and The Outlets at Pueblo Verde who provided us with the venue complete with projector, screen, monitor, sound system, and back and forth van hired for the event. Kudos to the marketing team headed by Ms. Geofel Labendia for being so generous to the community. Disclosure: We at Third Team Media are working them on social media management for The Outlets at Pueblo Verde.

What locations did you map?

We were able to map the businesses in Persimmon in Mabolo, Cebu and Pueblo Verde in Basak, Lapulapu City.

How did you run the mapUp? 

We planned the mapUp to be just a half day event. What I didn’t account for though was the limited data you could gather in just a small amount of time and also the travel time to Mactan Island from the venue. Hence because of those two items, I feel like we could have improved it to be a whole day event instead of just half day. But then again, it would end up expensive because we would have to provide lunch.


The challenge was that because most of the mappers were newbies, I think we were only able to add such few edits to the locations we had. We gave the rest as assignments but you know what happens with assignments – they rarely get done. But still, it was a refreshing experience for me aside from the regular meetup and talks that we have been doing for GBG Cebu.

So where’s the social business part? 

If you are a company like Aboitizland and there are communities like GBG Cebu that you could collaborate with, be on the look out for ways to help them out. Not only do you get the benefit of helping out a local community but you are also building a good reputation and name. Social businesses are open minded and open for collaboration.

Hopefully, GBG Cebu would again be able to sponsor the next meetup. 🙂

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