“If rural communities don’t take advantage of their location, somebody else will.” – Don Pani
One of the major activities we planned to do during our field visit to Uxuxubí was to create a map detailing the layout of the existing infrastructure and the locations of the tourism sites in the community. We found this an important activity to do when, during our initial search of background information about the community, we discovered maps of the area are not existent and that a simple Google search of the community only shows where it is located in the Quintana Roo region and that no further information about what actually exists there.
Creating a map of the community is an integral part of the diagnosis phase of this project, as it will provide a base for the spatial planning of the community, the proper locations of infrastructural development for tourism as well as planning locations of different business structures. Choosing the right locations is essential to ensure that tourism facilities will be sustainable and help realize the community’s vision of an eco-friendly environment.
The process of mapping the community was quite intriguing, fun and challenging at times. We did the whole mapping with a Garmin 62s handheld GPS with an accuracy of < 5m, which was suitable for the purpose of this project. The GPS was used to mark corners of buildings to pick their structures as well as to map our walking routes as we were being given a tour of the surrounding jungle. The road network in the community is nicely paved and so it wasn’t difficult mapping it. The buildings in the community are sparsely located, and we sometimes had to walk long distances into the jungle to locate other tourism sites, which somehow proved a bit of a challenging part of the mapping process but also added to the experience and adventurous nature of Uxuxubí. During the mapping we could see the organic development the village has gone through.
At the end of our one week stay in Uxuxubí, we had been able to map out all the places we had visited and created a prototype of how the place looks. We then asked the locals to indicate their favorite places on the map during a workshop with the community. Most of the children liked the lagoon best, as they loved to swim there. Others preferred to watch the crocodiles or trek to the Cenote Balam for a bath.
Now that we’re back in Finland, we’ll be using our GPS data to make a digital version of the Uxuxubí map.