Using GPS to Map Out Borrowers

In my last post, I talked about visiting a client with Phanith, the AMK Kiva coordinator. The client officer (a.k.a. loan officer) was not available to take us, so we relied on a hand written map that got us lost many, many times. We had to ask almost every villager we saw, before we finally got to the client.

Getting lost in a village got my mind thinking about how nice it would be if we had an actual map with the locations of clients and how to get to them. So I spoke to Paul, the CEO of AMK, about how we could give GPS devices to our client officers. This would let us track them as they go to each village bank and client, creating one massive map of Cambodia with the locations of every AMK client. The benefits of such a map include:

  • Client officers and other branch staff are often rotated to other branches as a fraud preventive measure. When a staff member arrives at their new branch, they could use the map to help them locate clients, instead of having to rely on other staff members at the new branch.
  • Staff from the auditing department could easily locate clients, allowing them to do spot checks on loan amounts and loan payments to help reduce fraud.
  • The research department could use the map data to keep better track of clients to further assess AMK’s social impact.
  • Organizations that are partnering with AMK to provide highly beneficial services to AMK clients, for example the water filter company IDE, can use the map to find clients instead of having to rely on AMK staff members to direct them.
  • Kiva Fellows could use the map to easily find Kiva clients and report back to lenders on their status.

Paul liked the idea and asked me to try it out. I got a GPS device and took it with me on my last village visit with Phanith and Kieran. In case you haven’t already checked it out, Kieran made an awesome video of our journey out there. I also made a video of the trip using Google Earth and the data from the GPS device. We were going to figure out how to sync these two videos together, but instead we made separate videos and set them to the same music :P


If you think AMK is doing great things you should definetely check out their loans that are currently fundraising on Kiva. Also if you think AMK is awesome as much as Kieran and I do, you should join the AMK Fan Club!


About the author

Sanjaya P