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AI to improve PH disaster response

DAVAO CITY- The Department of Science of Technology- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) is developing Artificial Intelligence A.I. based technology to help in disaster risk reduction and management.

One of the projects is the DATOS or Remote Sensing Data Science which helps disaster response agencies in knowing the extent of flooding.

“Immediately kasi in disaster management actually you want to know where the affected areas are. This means you have to come out where they are so you can provide the necessary response like rescue, evacuation things like that,” Dr. Enrico Paringit executive director of DOST PCIEERD said.

He added that AI is an improvement of the LIDAR based technology identifies potential hazard areas.

“We have the source, the satellite imagery then we have to process it where the flooded areas. Now it can be done by the machines, automatically the data will be downloaded from the satellite then the AI machine will label which lands are flooded,” Paringit said.

He said the data coming from the sensors and satellite are being crunched by the AI machine DATOS.

The project began in 2017 with a budget of P80-million. The information shared by the DATOS AI is given to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Before we do not know the what is happening on the ground, now down to the nearest barangay you will know the real situation,” Paringit said.

“The geo-hazard maps will show what will happen, the DATOS shows what is happening, for example there was a heavy rain last night, and when the satellite passes by, we will have data showing the extent of the flooding,” Paringit added.

For earthquakes the DOST-PCIEERD scientists are looking at using AI as Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) is planning an ambitious project to predict the occurrence of quakes at a very short lead time.

“For example, in Japan they are developing a warning system with an 8 second lead time, that’s a huge thing, where you predict an earthquake is going to happen in 8 seconds. It is still under development but if it is possible in other countries it could also be possible in our country,” Paringit said.

The same goes for volcanoes as Paringit said they will be looking at having sensors, networks and imageries for data then followed by intelligence to crunch the data.

“Artificial Intelligence is very important because it is the engine to data crunch those inputted from the sensors,” Paringit said.

The part of AI’s role is to help communicate to the people the situation and that the authorities should act given the situation in front of them.

DOST-PCIEERD is among the participants of the 1st AI Pinas Research and Development Conference and Workshop held on March 14-15 here in Davao City.

AI Pinas aims to create awareness on the value and applications of AI and AI Robotics in solving pressing national concerns like disaster risk reduction and disaster management. (PIA/RG Alama)

DATOS processes real-time flood situation in Leyte. Government scientists are using AI to help improve the country's disaster response capabilities

About the Author

Rudolph Ian Alama

Regional Editor

Region 11

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