In 2011, the Philippines’ Second Minadanao Rural Development Project (MRDP 2) became the first government-run development project to use geo-tagging in its project operations.
Geo-tagging is a free Google application that can be used on a GPS-enabled android phone or tablet. Users attach geographical coordinates to pictures, videos and SMS messages which are then uploaded to a media-sharing site. The application can also record and upload routes along with their elevation, total distance and the travel speed of the user to publically accessible Google Earth.
Before the geo-tagging application was introduced, MRDP 2 had difficulty overseeing several sub-projects due to their location in remote or conflict-ridden areas.
Geo-tagging has reduced the frequency that government agents need to make the expensive, lengthy and often dangerous journeys to project sites. Instead, workers at these sub-projects use geo-tagging to update agents on their project’s progress via their posted photos and related information.
MRDP 2 also uses geo-tagging as an anti-corruption tool. Geo-tagging assigns a unique ID tag to each project, which prevents the duplication of infrastructure projects, false reporting of data and eliminates fictitious projects.
Since 2011, the MRDP 2 has tagged approximately 500 community-driven agricultural and fisheries projects that are dispersed over six regions in Mindanao. MRDP 2 has even used an underwater camera to geo-tag a marine sanctuary rehabilitation project in Lanao del Norte that will restore the benefits of coral reefs to fishermen.
Workers in MRDP 2 have begun to train government co-workers outside of Mindanao so that geo-tagging can facilitate the transparency and the management of other development projects in the Philippines.
– Kasey Beduhn