The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) on Monday launched a smart groundwater monitoring station in Iloilo City that has sensors for automated, real-time monitoring of its supply.
With funding support from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the DOST - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), researchers from ADMU, established a groundwater management plan and monitoring system for 10 water-critical cities in the Philippines, including Iloilo and Zamboanga.
Under this project, monitoring wells and stations were built— four are in Zamboanga City, four (4) monitoring system for Iloilo, and 10 are successfully installed in Metro Manila, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, and Bukidnon. Another 8 sensors will be installed in selected areas nationwide within the year.
“Today marks a significant event as we officially present the locally developed cost-effective system for water wells monitoring here in IloIlo City, installed in Pavia National High School and in Barangay Consolacion, San Miguel. Through these facilities, automated and real-time monitoring of groundwater reservoirs consisting of various sensors, data logging, and telemetry equipment to measure water’s quantity and quality can be done,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
The data gathered from this monitoring system will serve as a decision-support tool for NWRB towards effective management of groundwater reservoir.
These data can also be accessed through the ThingSpeak mobile application and admuwater.com web portal. This is a platform service that uses Internet of Things (IoT) analytics to provide instant and advanced data analysis—bringing daily effective management of groundwater reservoirs at each Filipinos’ fingertips.
In addition to this, ADMU, NERC-British Geological Survey and DOST, under the Philippine Groundwater Outllook (PhiGO) project, organized a 2-day stakeholders’ workshop to strengthen partnership and gather local knowledge and understand the current issues and problems in managing water resources. The said project is one of the four funded under the PH-UK Newton Agham Joint Cooperation Program.
The researchers behind PhiGO aim to deliver consistent, accessible, and transferable assessments of climate and population change on regional groundwater resources.
Iloilo is one of the nine key cities identified in 1998 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in their study detailing the country’s water resources management. These cities were deemed plagued with water constraints and are envisioned to face these problems in the future.
Although the country is endowed with abundant water resources, Filipinos continue to face threats of resource scarcity, especially with groundwater as its renewability is limited and there are issues on its storage and management. It is essential that these issues be addressed as groundwater supplies drinking water, helps grow plants for food, and is also an important input to many industrial processes.
Iloilo, a developing smart city, has started encountering groundwater supply shortages. The city has already been tapping 93% of its supply, and over the years, has had low and unpredictable recharge.
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) confirmed that Iloilo is one of the identified critical areas in the country in terms of groundwater extraction that needs immediate rehabilitation.
After about two years of intensive research, FireCheck, a Fire Hazard Mapping and Fire Spread Simulation project funded by the Department of Science and Technology—PCIEERD (DOST-PCIEERD), turned over fire hazard and risk maps and evacuation plans to the local government of Lapu-Lapu on January 29, 2020.
BLAZING A TRAIL
FireCheck Project’s systems and technologies were presented and turned over to 19 of Lapu-Lapu City’s mainland barangays, as well as the city’s strategic planners, response units, and policy-makers.
Besides mapping out fire hazards to preemptively stop fires and proactively manage risks, the FireCheck Project also created 3D maps of high-risk communities rendered in a mobile application called “Blaze”, a Waze-like navigation app for firefighters to help facilitate speedy navigation and response around highly congested urban areas. Further, the project also developed fire spread models and simulation which can provide predictive information on the possible extent of the fire and its potential damage. The fire spread simulation model will aid firefighters in determining the best course of action should a fire disaster unfold, therefore, giving them a distinct advantage. All the mentioned technologies were also turned over to the city’s fire district.
The innovations born out of the proactive initiative of experts from the University of the Philippines Cebu are first of their kind and were developed through close collaboration with the city’s fire district (BFP- Lapu-Lapu), planning and development office (CPDO), and disaster risk reduction and management office (LDRRMO).
Information from the said maps, models, and simulations were used to improve if not create pre-fire plans, evacuation plans, and investment and mitigation plans for each of the city’s mainland barangay.
OUTSMARTING FIRE THROUGH MODERN TECH
The maps and technologies developed can converge to help make predictions about the likelihood of a fire scenario occurring in a specific community with more speed and accuracy than ever before. With timely and targeted information at hand, more synergistic plans and response strategies can be expected from local authorities, firefighters, responders, and other emergency services especially as they often have stretched resources on the ground.
The same systems and technologies were also turned over to the local government of Mandaue and its 27 barangays last November 29, 2019. These innovations, coupled with traditional fire prevention methods, only strengthen BFP’s existing Oplan Ligtas na Pamayanan (OLP) program.
With smart solutions at their fingertips, cities of Lapu-lapu and Mandaue — and soon, more cities across the Philippines — can now extinguish the increasing threat of urban fires, putting them out before they happen.
In a bid to help hasten rehabilitation of affected areas devastated by the eruption of Taal volcano, the University of the Philippines opens up its map data to the public for free.
Through the UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP TCAGP), the premiere state university is opening up to the public its map data of the Taal Volcano and its surrounding areas generated during the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) and the Philippine Light Detection and Ranging 1 (Phil-LIDAR 1) programs.
Using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, the group was able to generate maps with resolution of up to 1x1 meter which can be used for planning and reconstruction of areas damaged by the Taal volcano eruption.
UP TCAGP Assistant Professor Mark Edwin A. Tupas stressed the importance of using data in conducting planning and reconstruction activities in the areas affected by the Taal volcano eruption.
“With the Philippines being at constant risk from natural disasters, adequate data is needed for disaster risk reduction planning and operations, we are opening up our LiDAR map database to help in the rehabilitation of those affected by the Taal volcano eruption,” he said.
The DREAM and Phil-LiDAR 1 Programs are both projects funded by the Department of Science and Technology 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.
Tupas said users of the map data would need to properly cite UP TCAGP and the PHIL-LIDAR Program as the source of the information.
“Please note that while stringent Quality Assurance/Control protocols were in place during the program operation, we cannot guarantee that the data is free of discrepancies, bugs or defects,” he said.
Tupas said the datasets can be accessed through https://phillidar-dad.github.io/taal-open-lidar.html and can be opened using most modern geographic information system (GIS) software.
“From these high resolution information detailed 3D geovisualization, e.g. hillshade, can be created. The dataset can be also used for geomorphologic modelling of areas pre-disaster, data acquisition were between 2014 to 2017. Another sample use cases include the accurate determination of heights for building delineated from satellite imagery, given the Digital Elevation Modeling (DEM) of 20 cm vertical accuracy,” he said.
In 2017, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) opened a funding opportunity for startups to translate their early stage technologies into market ready products through research and development (R&D) activities. The Startup Research Grant Program was established to help startups overcome R&D roadblocks, strengthen intellectual property, establish initial market traction and refine their business model.
During its first call for applications, the PCIEERD received a total of sixty-five (65) startup applicants from various disciplines/sectors but only fifteen (15) out of the 65 applicants qualified and received the funding after a series of evaluation and assessment. The first batch of DOST Startup grantees are:
- MachiBox: Developed an easy-build, easy-to-program and cost effective robotics kits called MachiBot which aims to increase interest in programming and robotics among students/beginners
- Rurok Industries: A team of diverse individuals united by a common passion of riding bikes and the dream to do it by themselves. The team developed a performance bikes suspension technology that has the features of “antisquat” and “antirise”.
- Easybus PH: A startup company that provides a total digital booking platform (single, centralized and synchronized system application) adaptable for all types of buses to address the inefficiencies brought about by the manual system of booking.
- Retailgate: An AI Technology-based Retail Analytics and Market Research firm that provides tech-based consumer behavior tracking services.
- Grayscale: Developed the Smart VISION system which is an artificial intelligence-guided system for the blind that provides information on physical objects around at any distance, allowing the user to perform things that most people do (texting, email, etc.).
- Tactiles: A team of Filipino engineers and designers who developed the IQUBE, an app-powered educational toy that teaches kids about electricity. The IQUBE has been sold to thirty (30) different countries around the world.
- EduSuite: Created a next generation campus management system that saves time and prevents costly mistakes by using Artificial Intelligence to co manage the campus.
- Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME): Has developed small-scale vessel trackers and monitors that also serve as communication devices, enabling small-scale fishers to participate in electronic Catch Documentation Traceability (eCDT) and establishing increased communication and safety at-sea.
- Wela School Systems: Provides a cloud based grading platform for students, which includes a mobile application for parents and can also inform parents of the student's attendance and other school updates.
- Kinovett Scientific Solutions: Developed biotechnology kits that teaches students basic scientific principles and at the same time provides the students the opportunity to learn through hands on activities. It also aims to build the capacity of STEM educators in the country and enhance scientific literacy of students in biotechnology through inquiry-based STEM kits.
- Senti Techlabs: Provide social media monitoring services that is focused on understanding Filipino. To process social media posts better, they have developed a machine learning -based language classifier that automatically detect the language of any document. The product will allow the clients to view the market behavior on social media as well as the real time conversations about their brands.
- Farmwatch Solutions Inc.: Offers a suite of remote monitoring system that connects farms to farmers and help them by providing information necessary to make informed decisions. Their goal is to uplift the level of agriculture technology by developing products that assists farmers by making farm work and management lighter.
- Nanotronics Inc: Pioneered the production of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) derived from indigenous crop for use in different industries in the Philippines. Their main product is Emtex and Emtex TP which are bio-based nanotechnology polymers that enhance the material properties of polymer matrices to which they are blended into.
- Restograph: Developed a restaurant management software that connects directly with POS systems to provide real time sales analytics and granular views of daily operations, with elements descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive data analytics.
- Smartfox Data Solutions Inc. A silicon IP and design services provider founded by experienced IC and embedded systems design engineers. They offer digital IC design services from RTL design and logic synthesis to physical implementation and specializes in hardware design.
Aside from the research grant, these startups also received support and assistance from the DOST-funded Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) through their services and programs.
“We are happy with the milestones of the first batch of startup grantees and with the passing of the Innovative Startup Act, we see more Filipino startups getting government support” said Russell Pili, the Chief of the Technology Transfer Division of PCIEERD.
At the upcoming Philippine Startup Week 2019, all the fifteen startups will share their startup journey at the event organized by the DOST on November 20, 2019 called “ALL SET: The DOST Startups’ Journey”. The event will also feature a chosen partner or client of each startup who will give testimony about how their product/service of benefitted them.