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Government Analytics, Government Data Management, Public Safety

The Philippine government to use sensors for disaster early-warning

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) will be rolling out a wide-area disaster prevention system to detect volcanic and seismic activity by using seismic intensity meters and tide indicators, as well as offering disaster countermeasures.


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Being on the circum-Pacific seismic belt, The Philippines often suffers from damage caused by active volcanoes and seismic activity.

The country therefore has an urgent need to reduce the impact of natural disasters and to improve its capacity to respond to disasters through the enhancement of earthquake and tsunami surveillance systems and the real-time provision of related information.

The system, scheduled to begin operating in February 2015, gathers sensor data from the strong-motion seismographs and tide indicators located throughout the Philippines at the PHIVOLCS via satellite-based communication.

The system will enable the Institute to constantly monitor volcanic and seismic activity and to promptly convey the information to the relevant ministries and agencies in the event of an earthquake.

Seismic intensity meters will be located in approximately 40 locations and tide indicators will be located in approximately 20 locations all over the Philippines.

These sensors will use photovoltaic solar cells so that they can send data constantly. The data on oscillation and the tides will be gathered in real time, enabling the constant monitoring of volcanic and seismic activity.

PHIVOLCS aims to reduce the impact of natural disasters by communicating with the relevant ministries and agencies immediately after an earthquake or tsunami is detected and making use of changes in the sensor data to predict volcanic eruptions.

The team also hopes to enhance the system that will make an automatic notification when there is any abnormal change in the data. This can be accomplished through coordination between this system and the systems of the other Philippine ministries and agencies, and a warning service for citizens.

This project will be rolled out by NEC and is supported by grant aid from the Japanese government’s program for Improvement of Equipment for Disaster Risk Management.

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