Published on

YouthMappers UpSkilling Series heads to Leyte!


I'm thrilled to share my recent adventure in the beautiful province of Leyte, where I had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with four universities on a special YouthMappers UpSkilling Series workshop. Each leg of this series was like a unique chapter in a mapmaking story, with a common goal: to help build more mappers in the community.


The UpSkilling Series is designed to provide our local chapters with the tools and knowledge they need to excel in mapping and beyond. By honing their skills, our members will gain a competitive edge, opening doors to new opportunities and empowering them to impact their communities positively.

This program, conducted in collaboration with UP Tacloban YouthMappers, Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) YouthMappers, Viscan YouthMappers and Southern Leyte State University (SLSU) YouthMappers, has a primary focus on enhancing participants’ proficiency in mobile data collection and data validation techniques for OpenStreetMap (OSM). These skill sets hold significant importance, particularly for the province of Leyte. By equipping them with these capabilities, we aim to enhance their capacity for disaster preparedness and response.

In these specific workshop series, they were guided on how to use Mapillary for street-level imagery collection, and tested their smartphone devices and the Insta360 camera during the short fieldwork exercise. For Southern Leyte State U YouthMappers, additional workshop topics were included such as using Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM), and data validation on OSM using JOSM.


Before delving into my story, I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated local YouthMappers chapters and their members for generously devoting their time and efforts to make this workshop series possible. Furthermore, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the tireless coordinators of each chapter for their unwavering support throughout our various activities.

Chapter 1: UP Tacloban YouthMappers

My journey began with UP Tacloban YouthMappers, the first local chapter outside Metro Manila. Since they joined the YouthMappers network, they've consistently stood out as pioneers in skillsets and experiences. They already have a wide range of skills and experiences – from data collection using mobile applications, drone imagery collection, to data validation using JOSM. Learning Mapillary would further enhance their activities for community outreach, especially for disaster preparedness, and helping the communities respond to disasters.

It is also interesting to see the unwavering support from their university's GIS lab - UPTC Regional Environmental Information System (REIS), which reflects their department’s and advisors’ commitment to serving the people. It's worth noting that they were honored with the opportunity to receive drone training last year via the Booster Grant Program of the OpenStreetMap-Philippines, funded by the Open Mapping Hub-Asia Pacific, thanks to their exceptional leadership skills and networking capabilities.


Chapter 2: EVSU Tacloban YouthMappers

Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) Tacloban YouthMappers, a relatively new addition to the network, embarked on their journey with a series of basic training sessions. They're still finding their footing within the network, but their commitment and enthusiasm are evident. As we worked through the UpSkilling workshop and despite the hiccups we encountered before starting the workshop, you could see them gaining momentum and confidence, ready to make their mark on the open mapping field.


Chapter 3: Southern Leyte State University YouthMappers

Southern Leyte State University YouthMappers were honored with the esteemed Rising Star Award by YouthMappers earlier this year, a recognition well-earned. Their commitment to empowering members with cutting-edge technologies and fostering collaborations, both within and beyond the network, is truly commendable. Over the course of the 2-day Upskilling Series workshop, we elevated their skills by immersing ourselves in a JOSM workshop focused on validation techniques, potentially paving the way for the establishment of a regional validation hub in Asia. To make this vision a reality, it will be essential to provide ongoing support and guidance, ensuring the continuous momentum of their dedicated members.


Chapter 4: Viscan YouthMappers

Viscan YouthMappers is an exceptionally inspiring chapter from Visayas State University. Engaging with their alumni and current members is a testament to their profound passion for community service and dedication to excelling in their field. Their commitment runs deep, and it's evident in every conversation I have had with them. They exemplify the spirit of YouthMappers, and their impact on their community is truly remarkable.

After the Mapillary discussion and sharing of my struggles with Insta360, I had a great chat with the chapter advisors about the problems with Insta360's GPS captures. I'm really looking forward to meeting with them when I visit the universities. They're here to share their knowledge and help the students understand what the chapters are doing.


Check out the Mapillary captures by each university!

UP Tacloban
Eastern Visayas State University
Southern Leyte State University
Visayas State University

The Common Thread: Building More Mappers

Throughout our workshop series, it was evident that despite each university having its unique character and style, they all shared a common goal - to create more mappers and serve the communities. The determination to map their communities, improve access to information, and contribute to disaster preparedness was remarkable. These students’ passion for learning and helping their communities was unique and amazing.

This workshop series reminded me that the power of mapping goes beyond just geographical data. It's about empowerment, it's about creating change, and it's about making the world a better place. I'm grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these incredible students and local chapters in Leyte, and I'm excited to see the positive impact they'll make in their communities.

This experience was a powerful reminder of my love for teaching and mentoring. There's something truly special about witnessing people grow their skills and being a part of their learning journey. While online training has its merits, there's an unparalleled value in being present in person.

The logistical challenges may have been a hassle, but they were a small price to pay for the opportunity to connect directly with these passionate mappers. Going the extra mile to visit their chapters allowed me to impart knowledge and be inspired by every one of them.

It's a two-way street; they look up to me for guidance, but I, in turn, draw inspiration from their dedication and enthusiasm. This connection, the exchange of knowledge, and the shared passion for mapping make these experiences truly special and rewarding. It's a beautiful cycle of learning, growth, and inspiration that keeps me motivated to continue this journey.

I would like to thank Erika del Rosario of the UP Resilience Institute YouthMappers for joining and assisting me in this UpSkilling Series leg in Leyte! Thank you, Erika!