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University of the Philippines to Open Map Data for Taal Volcano Rehabilitation

Map Data for Taal Volcano Rehabilitation
Photo Credit: DOST-PCIEERD/Manila Bulletin

In order to help speed up the rehabilitation of the areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption, the University of the Philippines will open its map data of the volcano to the public for free.

About the Initiative

According to a recent report, the state university is allowing the public to access its map data of the aforementioned volcano and its surrounding areas through the UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP TCAGP).

The map data was generated during the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM), and the Philippine Light Detection and Ranging 1 (Phil-LIDAR 1) programs.

The maps were generated by using the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, with resolution of up to 1×1 metre.

The maps can be used for planning and reconstruction of areas damaged by the Taal volcano eruption.

According to UP TCAGP Assistant Professor Mark Edwin A. Tupas, the use of data in conducting planning and reconstruction activities in the areas affected by the Taal volcano eruption is imperative.

With the Philippines being at constant risk from natural disasters, adequate data is needed for disaster risk reduction planning and operations.

As such, the LiDAR map database is being opened to help in the rehabilitation of those affected by the Taal volcano eruption.

The DREAM and Phil-LiDAR 1 Programs are both projects funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and monitored by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), which mapped river basins all over the country.

Users of the map data would need to properly cite UP TCAGP and the PHIL-LIDAR Program as the source of the information.

The Professor noted that while stringent Quality Assurance/Control protocols were in place during the program operation, there is no guarantee that the data is free of discrepancies, bugs or defects.

The data sets can be accessed here and can be opened using the most modern geographic information system (GIS) software.


From the high-resolution information, detailed 3D geo-visualisation, such as a hillshade, can be created.

The data set can be also used for geomorphologic modelling of areas pre-disaster and the accurate determination of heights for building delineated from satellite imagery, given the Digital Elevation Modelling (DEM) of 20 cm vertical accuracy.

Data acquisition was made from 2014 to 2017.

Utilizing Tech for Disaster Recovery

  • Tech innovations have proven their usefulness, particularly after disasters and calamities.
  • In Indonesia, for instance, the frequency with which natural disasters strike the country has inspired technology innovators to create new devices and applications to help minimise the casualties.
  • Deoterions is among the recent innovations. It helps detect victims of earthquakes buried as deep as 100 metres under building debris.
  • Developed by three students from Brawijaya University, Deoterions is short for “detector of interconnected position points”.
  • It is similar to a credit card and needs to be in the victim’s possession in order for them to be detected and saved.
  • The technology aims to speed up the rescue by finding the victims’ positions under the debris after the earthquake had occurred.
  • The rescue team only needs to have the mobile application installed to activate the card and begin the search.
  • The device could send out 915 Mghz radio frequency signals as far as 10 kilometres from the position of the victim. That signal can be received by other Deoterions users.
  • While Deoterions can help with rescue efforts, a different mobile application called AtmaGo aims to help people get out of harm’s way before disaster strikes.
  • The application gives users early warnings for fires, flood and crime, giving them time to prepare and take shelter.
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