The PEDRO Center: Innovative Earth Observation Advancements for Earthquake, Fire, and Flood Disasters

2 Nov 2020 12:30 PM

In October 2019, innovative applications by the DOST-ASTI’s Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Center during natural disasters were presented at the Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS) 2019 held in Daejeon, South Korea. The discussion of the paper entitled, “The Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation Center – An Enabler in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management” was led by DOST-ASTI Science Research Specialist Nash Frederic M. Prado.

On Fighting Fire: Determining severity from the Mt. Apo wildfire

In March of 2016, Mt. Apo encountered a wildfire incident that caused damage on the summit of the mountain. Using satellite images provided by European optical earth observation (EO) satellite Sentinel-2A and the PEDRO Center’s expertise in Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a normalized burn ratio (NBR) difference map was computed to determine the varying burn severities within the area.

ΔNBR map showing the wildfire severity at Mt. Apo, Davao City, Philippines. Includes Copernicus Sentinel data (2015, 2016).

Evaluating Earthquakes: Multicriteria evaluation of the Magnitude 6.5 Leyte Earthquake

In July of 2017, the PEDRO Center was contributory in sharing relevant materials to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) during the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the province of Leyte.

Using satellite images captured by South Korean EO satellite KOMPSAT-3, the PEDRO Center was able to acquire images over the area. Landslide scarps, which were not present in an archived Landsat satellites capture a month before the earthquake, were discovered and later confirmed to have been caused by the earthquake.

In order to evaluate the conditions present in the areas affected by the landslide, the scarps were instrumental in preparing and formatting various thematic maps to be used in a GIS platform.

Six (6) subfactor/thematic maps were prepared and correlated with the mapped landslide scarps to determine what influences slope failure and to better predict when and where future landslides might occur.

  • Geologic Map digitized from a lithologic map from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)
  • Slope Map derived from a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from the Phil-LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) program.
  • Land Cover Map from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).
  • Distance from Fault Map processed and digitized from a fault map of PHIVOLCS.
  • Distance from Rivers Map digitized from a topographic map of NAMRIA.
  • Distance from Roads Map digitized from a topographic map from NAMRIA.

From the correlation of the landslide scarps and the produced landslide hazard maps, it was concluded that geology and proximity to rivers are those that have the highest influence on the occurrence of the landslides.

On Tackling Typhoons: Tropical Storm Danas post-typhoon flood assessment using SAR

In July 2019, Tropical Storm Danas affected 758 families across various northern regions in the Philippines along with some national roads and seaports that were closed due to soil erosion and flooding.

The PEDRO Center, through captured images of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite KOMPSAT-5 over  Aparri, Cagayan, were able to do pre- and post-typhoon flood assessment.

A KOMPSAT-5 satellite image showing the areas affected by Tropical Storm Danas. Includes material ©KARI 2019, Distribution (SI Imaging Services, Republic of Korea), all rights reserved.

Using intensity change detection based on the KOMPSAT-5 images, flood maps were extracted by the PEDRO Center. These products have complemented and supported the response and rehabilitation efforts of the affected areas’ mandated local units, as well as their future mitigation strategies.

Through these assessment efforts, the function of the PEDRO Center proved to be flexible and instrumental in disaster management agencies’ future response efforts in terms of a more efficient deployment and mobilization of government resources.

The Research Team

Alvin E. Retamar
Chief Science Research Specialist

Harold Bryan S. Paler
Senior Science Research Specialist

Gerwin P. Guba
Supervising Science Research Specialist

Joven C. Javier
Senior Science Research Specialist

Nash Frederic M. Prado
Science Research Specialist II

Rocell Niño B. Vicente
Science Research Specialist II

Julius M. Judan
Science Research Specialist II

Febbie Marylou B. Prado
Science Research Specialist I

Jason Paul Henry G. Talan
Science Research Assistant

Princess Angela D. Young
Project Evaluation Officer II

Katrina T. Mina
Project Evaluation Officer I