Lending a hand, and a map, to remote towns in Spain

Bradley Walker
New York City 40°42'52" N, 74°00'26” W

On the West Coast of Spain, near The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). you’ll find the municipality of Cuntis, population just shy of 4,800. It’s a rural place, where roads outside of the city are not well travelled, and some roads have never been digitally mapped. Thanks to a telephone call to HERE, that’s changing.

Earlier this year, the Public Safety Organization in Cuntis received a call for assistance. An emergency response team was dispatched to help, but they were significantly delayed getting to the scene due to one critical problem – the roads leading to where the incident took place weren’t on their map. Though late, help eventually arrived where it was needed, but the problem lingered.

Enter Isaac Fuentes, a Jr. Developer at a local software firm, and volunteer with the Cuntis Civil Protection Association. Isaac had read a story about a neighboring town that took on the task of mapping their own city to improve traffic. Inspired by the initiative in Valga, he envisioned that the same could be done for Cuntis. He contacted HERE to get started.

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Extremely rural areas present a challenge for digital mapping. Vehicles equipped with the latest cameras, sensors and LiDAR don’t drive through some areas frequently enough to collect the necessary data. What’s needed are local updates, collected and redistributed in an organized effort.

The organized effort came to life when Isaac, HERE, and several local public offices came together and resolved to update all of the maps in the municipality of Cuntis.

To help get started efficiently, the HERE Community team created dedicated training sessions for local volunteers and public staff. The sessions provided detailed instruction in using HERE Map Creator, Mapillary, and HERE Map Creator Mobile. These tools gave them the power to add, edit, and photograph previously unseen local roads.

In this partnership, HERE knew the people on the ground that were doing the mapping. Thus, we provided direct support any time they had questions or difficulties in updating roads into the system. To speed up the process, knowing the quality of the data sources, we gave priority to their edits to rapidly deploy a new picture of the area.

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As the map of Cuntis developed, the Public Safety Organization adopted HERE WeGo to navigate and plan their routes efficiently. The emergency vehicles in the municipality use the HERE WeGo mobile app, and are able to use our APIs that enable them to share updated information with other app users. Of course, the maps also enable them to get to answer calls for assistance in any location.

Looking at Cuntis now, you can see nearly 100% of the roads, ranging from the center of town to distant areas covered in dense forest. We think it’s a beautiful view, and it all began with a local volunteer named Isaac.

Topics: Community mapping, Cartography, Editor's picks

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