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Young Filipino Wins First Global Google Map-Making Tilt

Asian Journal , Posted: Mar 09, 2010

A young Filipino software developer beat hundreds of contestants in a worldwide competition to win the first-ever Google Map Maker Global Competition, and the prize of $50,000 from UNICEF for projects to benefit Philippine youth.

Wayne Dell Manuel, a 24-year-old developer at the National Telehealth Center of the University of the Philippines, bested over 700 contestants from countries around the world. He also won an all-expenses paid trip to the Google Super Mappers 2010 conference in Switzerland. Manuel will also receive a VIP tour from UNICEF officials of the projects that will benefit from the $50,000 donation.

"Im so excited to have won this global competition because it represents a win not just for me, but also for the Philippines," said Manuel. "To be frank, I entered the competition to win the $50,000 for our country, and I hope that my win encourages more Filipinos to contribute to making the online map of our country even better." Manuel is recognized as one of the top 10 all-time mappers globally with over 35,000 edits.

The Google Map Maker competition, which ran from December 15, 2009 to January 31, 2010, required contestants to map geographical areas in their homeland -- like universities, schools, hospitals and medical clinics currently not on Google Maps. The online map will help humanitarian organizations like UNICEF do their jobs better navigating around a country. For example when Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines, volunteer groups used Google maps to locate distress calls and facilitate rescue operations. Manuel played a part in helping them.

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