As part of its program on natural disaster mitigation, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has supported the development of two solutions that can help in the assessment and detection of landslides.
According to Dr. Amelia P. Guevara, Executive Director of DOST's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the two solutions use sensor and wireless technology and visual analysis in monitoring and identifying landslides, respectively.
These solutions are the result of local researches conducted by our very own scientists and engineers. The studies demonstrate that local innovations and technologies are at par or sometimes even superior to those developed overseas, Dr. Guevara said.
DOST-PCIEERD, which monitored the projects, is the country's lead agency in the research and development for the industry, energy and emerging technology sectors.
Early warning system for landslides
A team of engineers and researchers from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman has developed a landslide monitoring system that promises to accurately and cost-effectively monitor slopes.
According to program leader Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr., an associate professor at UP-EEEI, the landslide monitoring system is composed of a series of sensors that measure soil moisture and slope movements.
The sensors are buried vertically in areas being observed for possible landslides,â€ explained Dr. Marciano. â€œThe sensors will periodically measure various parameters that affect the sturdiness of slopes such as rainfall intensity, moisture content and ground movement. The data are then transmitted wirelessly to a central base station for processing and analysis.
Presently, a landslide monitoring system is being field-tested in Benguet province. Once tested, the system will be deployed in other landslide-prone areas.
Guidebook helps identify areas susceptible to landslides
Meanwhile, at Kalinga Apayao State College (KASC) a team of researchers and geotechnical engineers has developed a graphical guidebook that features an assessment procedure enabling non-experts to determine if their communities are vulnerable to rain-induced and shallow-depth landslides.
The guidebook describes how to measure landslide susceptibility through simple steps that are done visually and manually.
Project leader Dr. Eduardo T. Bagtang, president of KASC, explained that the assessment procedure is based on the idea that the strength of the structure should always be greater than the load applied to the structure.
The assessment procedure is easy to follow and perform, said Dr. Bagtang. It involves measuring the slope angle, identifying the predominant material of the slope, and computing the stability of the slope.
Co-project leader Dr. Daniel Peckley Jr., a DOST Balik Scientist and an associate professor at the Institute of Civil Engineering in UP Diliman, added that the assessment procedure may only be applicable to shallow landslides, the depth of which is less than 3m.