With every new semester comes the same old predicament for both ongoing and new Viscans; ‘I don’t have a place to stay yet’. Whether you are an incoming freshman or transferee who did not apply or was not accepted to an in-campus dormitory, or you are an old student who got evicted from the dorms and/or wishes to move to a new place, you are all going to face the same obstacle. And this issue is further aggravated as the Viscan population continues to increase each year, so finding adequate accommodation for students has grown to be a more dreadful process. 


Luckily, one of VSU’s student organizations – the Viscan YouthMappers (VYM), launched their newest innovation called Project MAPAGUAPA. MAPAGUAPA is a website that acts as an efficient guide to finding available boarding houses in the areas of barangay Marcos, Pangasugan, Guadalupe, and Patag. Hence, MAPAGUAPA – which is derived from the initials of the four focus-areas of the mapping project. 


Brought on by the persistent difficulty, the VYM started this initiative, which intends to streamline the task of seeking out boarding houses in the said barangays. According to Project Leader and current VYM President, Mr. Mark Gil D. Cabangal, “VYM comprises Geodetic Engineering students who possess specialized expertise in gathering and processing raw data to create maps. This specialization significantly contributes to the streamlined execution of the MAPAGUAPA project.” This initiative by the Viscan YouthMappers shows that student organizations in VSU continue to make brilliant measures fitted with their expertise, that not only demonstrate their competence in the field but also seek to be of service to the studentry.


With the help of their collaborator, Ms. Robeth Kathleen B. Datoy, who is also a Geodetic Engineering student, the organization was able to produce a website that displays a list of boarding houses that were manually mapped by the org members through a software called KoboCollect. The coordinates of these boarding houses were gathered and uploaded to Google Maps. Furthermore, the website also indicates an elaborate catalog containing the specifications that students may want to know about their potential residences, which can be filtered accordingly, such as the rent, number of beds per room, type of accommodation that you prefer (dorm, boarding house, apartment, cottage), a photo of the house, and the contact information of the property owner. The VYM President assured them that they had obtained a signed agreement from the owners, allowing them to publicize these information. 


Mark also stated the relevance of Project MAPAGUAPA to the Viscan community as it directly addresses the urgent housing needs of students with convenience while offering them empowerment and support, “By streamlining the process of finding accommodations, the project helps students save time and effort that can be redirected towards their studies and personal growth.” 


Now, students, especially those coming from faraway cities/provinces can opt not to travel and do the rigorous task of striving to find a place near VSU in a single day and feel the fear of returning home in vain, because you can now do your house-hunting on your gadgets in the comfort of your home.


This project was made possible by the immense effort and dedication of VYM officers, active org members, their collaborator, Ms. Robeth Kathleen Datoy, supportive adviser Dr. Jannete C. Bencure, and Engr. Celestial Manigo. The participation and indulgence of the officials of the concerned Barangays also allowed the manifestation of this project. The Open Mapping Hub-Asia Pacific and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) were the sponsors who provided financial support to the organization that made this valuable innovation take form. 


In discussing the furthering of the land scope that the project covers, the VYM says that a real-time information update feature on the website has been under discussion but has not yet been formally approved or presented. However, they also assured that the organization is currently working on projects that will surely be conducive to the community. 


If you want to check for a place to stay-in that is relatively near VSU for the incoming semester, you can check here: 


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