The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) received a high-resolution geohazard map as part of the Php260 million (USD 5,996,310) grant awarded by the Australian Agency for International Development and Geoscience Australia.
The geohazard map which will be used to support the government’s disaster reduction efforts, was created by using a sophisticated imaging process called Light Detection and Ranging Technology (LiDAR) - an optical remote sensing technology that can measure the properties of a target by illuminating the subject with light, often from pulses of a laser.
“While having a map does not guarantee zero casualties during disasters, it will significantly help in providing better management of the government’s disaster risk reduction efforts,” said Nereus Acosta, Presidential Adviser on Environment Protection.
“How can you manage that which you cannot measure? This can be used for measuring. How can you monitor effectively that which you cannot map?” Acosta said.
Compared with existing digital maps owned by the government, which were captured using other technologies such as satellite imagery, the LiDAR maps are more detailed in that they not only capture the topography of the area, but also the various surface elements as well.
According to Geoscience Australia, LiDAR maps are a crucial factor in geohazard mapping, since elements such as buildings, trees and houses are factors in accurately depicting risk in a particular disaster situation.
In order to use the LiDAR maps, concerned local agencies and NAMRIA would have to collaborate to extract relevant data needed for it to work.
Once the three-year project has been firmly established, local governments can use data from the LiDAR maps to effectively carry out simulations of strong winds, flooding and earthquake scenarios in their respective areas.
At present, the project is in the initial phase of a broader disaster risk-reduction development assistance programme from the Australian government, which is carried under the banner BRACE program.
A pilot test case to implement other phases of the programme will be made in Taguig city.