/ 20 November 2022

THREE students of the Visayas State University will participate in the 2023 Leadership Fellows Summit in Montegro Bay, Jamaica.

Geodetic Engineering students John Noli Cris Pomentil, Jean Garciano Pepito and Carolina Maglasang Balmoria are among the five representatives from the Philippines who are joining the summit organized by YouthMappers from January 3 to 13 next year.

Pomentil, Garciano and Balmoria are part of ViscanYouthMappers.

The three will be granted travel subsidy of P600,000 from the United States Agency for International Development GeoCenter.

Dr. Jannet Bencure, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology and concurrent adviser of VYM, revealed the organization was organized in February this year and formally recognized and accepted by the university to conduct activities effective August 2022.

“The idea to create a YouthMappers chapter at VSU started when I attended a half-day meeting wherein one of the participants I had the chance to talk with presented about YouthMappers. I was intrigued,” Bencure said.

“When I came back home, I googled about YouthMappers and found out that we can join the organization,” she added.

“That’s the time when I started to establish a unique academic interest group at our university. I found this to be a good opportunity for my students to apply the things they learn in the classroom,” Bencure said.

The main goal of the VYM, according to Bencure, is to capacitate the members on how to do geo-mapping, which has numerous applications for risk reduction, disaster management, and many other areas of sustainable community development.

The official said they already started to map the Leyte province and put it into OpenStreetMap, a geographic database that is accessible online throughout the world.

“We mapped out small houses. We overlaid it and identified the hazards and how many houses will be vulnerable to it. We mapped the fire hydrants,” she said.

“Next, we mapped the vulcanizing shops, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), restaurants, gasoline stations, water accessibility, and even agricultural commodities,” she added.

YouthMappers is a global community of students, researchers, educators and scholars that use public geospatial technologies to highlight and directly address development challenges worldwide.