Geo-tagging: An Innovative Tool to Enhance Transparency and Supervision of Development Projects in the Philippines

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Geo-tagging: An Innovative Tool to Enhance Transparency and Supervision of Development Projects in the Philippines

In 2011, the Philippines’ Second Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP 2) incorporated the use of geo-tagging into its project operations in order to enhance the transparency, oversight and coordination of the program’s development activities. This marks the first time that geo-tagging has been used as a transparency tool in a development project or by a government agency.

Geo-tagging is the process of attaching location-specific information, such as geographical coordinates, to various media types, including pictures, videos, and SMS messages. Geo-tagging represents a revolutionary ICT tool given that it can provide geographically precise information in a user-friendly and cost-effective manner. Google freely provides the platform to geo-tag, and the only equipment needed is a GPS-enabled android phone. In the context of the MRDP 2, geo-tagging is used to attach project information to media such as pictures of the before, during and after phases of project implementation.

The geo-tagging tool is particularly valuable in the context of the MRDP 2 given the challenges to project oversight and implementation in this setting. Several sub-projects are widely dispersed across Mindanao, and accessibility to remote or conflict-affected project sites is often limited. Geo-tagging can address these challenges by enabling implementing agents to better validate and monitor project activities without having to visit the sites that are difficult and costly to access. Moreover, geo-tagging is used by the MRDP 2 as an anti-corruption tool that enables bidders, administrators and citizens to better monitor the project procurement process by linking projects to their bidding and contract information online.

Given the demonstrated value of geo-tagging for the MRDP 2, the Philippine government is now incorporating the use of geo-tagging into the activities of other agencies and local government units. This showcases the potential for geo-tagging to be used in other settings as a resource efficient and sustainable tool to enhance transparency.

For further information please contact: Carolina V. Figueroa-Geron (Lead Operations Officer, EASPS and Country Sector Coordinator for RE at cfigueroageron@worldbank.org) and Felizardo Virtucio (Operations Officer, EASPS and MRDP 2 Team Leader at fvirtucio@worldbank.org) Enzo de Laurentiis (Regional Procurement Manager, EAP at Elaurentiis@worldbank.org) and Noel Sta Ines (Senior Procurement Specialist, EASR1 at nstaines@worldbank.org).

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