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Connect Moderator
Connect Moderator

Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

Hi Local Guides


Today I want to invite you on board, in my car, for traveling with me to explore Marche and Umbria (the, sadly, well known Earthquake areas in Central Italy).

1120 Km (696 miles) is what Google Maps show, during the preparation of our “4 days journey”. In four days we want to visit part of the area again, to meet friends, to help in updating the Map, to organize new activities, to have a Meet-Up, to explore some more parts of my country.


We want to see, we want to touch with our hands, in which step of the change we are now.

(For more info about the story, you can read: From the day when everything started - Maps of earthquake in central Italy)



Being Local Guides, our question is: what is it possible to do in this in this specific step of the emergency?

Besides, how can we help, through Google Maps, to manage the various steps of the emergency?

Answering to this question is not simple, because the answer is deeply related to the specificity of the territory, a territory that I want to invite you to visit with me today.



  • The steps of emergencies


  • Step zero – Earthquake - Emergency structures – First aid

The first phase can take months. Temporary structures are built in the area, for people to be helped. The territory in this phase is completely changed, a lot of areas are closed (we call it “red zone”). Temporary structures are built for first aid. It includes feeding people, giving a place to sleep, a temporary Emergency Room. People are disoriented and need reference points. Maps can help a lot, in providing updated information

2016_Norcia_campo_CRI.jpgAntonella, Ermes and Emanuele at Red Cross Camp - December 2016 2016_Norcia_05.jpgDownloading goods

Thanks to @LucioV for the two previous photos, taken during Local Guides Volunteer day 2016


SANY0035.JPGA tent for food/goods distribution SANY0038.JPGTemporary School in Norcia

  • Step 1 – Delocalization – securing areas

A lot of people is moved out of the area, for giving time to the “emergency team” to secure the area. Roads will be temporary closed, with a deep impact in the circulation. Information about the temporary closure / opening of the roads need to be fast and efficient. A lot of people are using Google Maps to drive in there, they need to have accurate and “real time” information.


DSC06444.jpgNorcia - San Benedetto Church DSC06447.jpgNorcia - Secured building 

DSC06474.jpgNorcia - Secured building DSC06449.jpgNorcia - Secured road

  • Step 2 – Temporary (mid time) building

New towns and new shopping areas are growing in that moment (the actual one, in Central Italy). People are coming back in the area, an (apparently) normal life is restarting. Maps need to be completely redesigned, new roads and buildings need to be mapped. Also in this case a quick reaction is important, for returning to a “normal” life

cascia.JPGScreenshot from Google Maps - Cascia - Landfield


DSC06518.jpgSame area - April 23rd, 2018 - A village of temporary houses

  • Step 3 – End of emergency

We are far away from this. The area is a part of Italian cultural heritage and  the hope is to have all the historical buildings back to a new life. This will be another important moment for Local Guides, reopening activities, adding new information.

DSC01643.jpgLocal Guides "in action" at Norcia Meet-Up


DSC01626.jpgNorcia, a tourist visiting a distroyed curch in "Virtual Tour"

  • Collateral damages
    • Certification of safety

The most important part of the business activities, in a Cultural and Historical Heritage, are related to tourism. Having the tourists back in a short time is one of the most important target of the area, in which Local guides are giving an important help.

Missing information, related to the safety of the buildings, are driving the tourists out of the area. “is the place safe?” is one of the most common question we receive. Adding the “seismic safety certificate” in the business listing in Google Maps, would help a lot. Being Local Guides, we are inviting all the Businesses to join in Google Mybusiness, to be able to add extra information.


  • Promotion of the areas

Where there is not too much to see, but for ruins, the role of Local guides is very important. With the support of Virtual Tours, we are promoting tourism. Thanks to the most active Local Guide of the area (@manulele81), we can show to the tourists how the Historical buildings were (and will be again)

Meet-ups are continuously held in there, involving citizens and tourists, giving hope.


We are programming a new step soon, related to my #LocalGuidesCleanTheWorld project


“Mapping in emergency areas” is the subject that I would like to discuss, with the Local Guides Team, in San Francisco, in ConnectLive18.

New and old tools for an Efficient Role of Local Guides

I hope to have this opportunity



Connect Moderator
Connect Moderator

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermest, thank you for putting this together and showing us the power of as being Local Guides using Google Maps is more than a restaurant or store review that we can have truly great impact in our communities, with true reach globally, in help map during and post-natural disasters.


I hope you get selected to Connect Live to show what you have done and to lead the “mapping in emergency areas” discussion on this very important and critical Google Maps topic. 


Good luck my friend!






EmekaHouse Level 10
Level 10

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermestYou are an astonishing and resourceful person. The activities, details, photos and systematic analysis are impressive. And I just want to ask if you are a Project Manager or a Geographer? :)

It is sad that some beautiful parts of Italy are just around fault lines and I would really love the Italian government to look into helping with quake tolerant buildings like they have in Japan.

What @manulele81 is commendable, I can imagine tourist having memory of what used to be a great site. Thumbs up for #Norcia

I think you make me want to visit Italy.


Great job! Great job!





AlejandraMaría Level 8
Level 8

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

Hello @ermest,

A great post full of content and very involved with the earthqueake  areas. 

Now we know much better all the process and steps that have been followed and should be done in emergency areas.

I am happy that the commerce and life is  starting again.

Many Italian LGs are involved.  I really like the working @manulele81 is doing with the virtual tours. I tried it, and is impressive!

I enjoy the video, congratulations!

You are teaching us how to be a real voluntear using google maps. You know how to use this app.

You will discuss “Mapping in emergency areas”  in ConnectLive18 ;)

My best wishes for you!!! You deserve it ;)

Good Evening from the South of Spain,


SergeySud Level 10
Level 10

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

MahabubMunna Level 9
Level 9

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermest your a block of House wall . Hope LG team never miss this block to full fill the wall  in Connect Live . every one waiting for you . best of luck . 

i know you already selected :P :) 

JosephDewey Level 10
Level 10

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

JR_Curley Level 8
Level 8

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermest love hearing what you're doing and how it impacts the people around you! Great post.

Anthony_LG Level 7
Level 7

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermest this is tremendous. It's awe-inspiring to see to what extent the power of communities can be when working together for a good cause.

Connect Moderator
Connect Moderator

Re: Traveling in Italy with a Local Guide

@ermest: Such a meaningful post, thank you for sharing it with us.

Thank you for the work that you do and for these amazing stories.

And this part of Italy looks amazing, definitely a must visit one day, hopefully sooner than later! :)