Project NOAH was the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) integrated disaster prevention and mitigation program. It is designed to employ science and technology to generate accurate data and address the conditions needed to make informed decisions for disaster risk reduction activities, through national government agencies, partners in the private sector and the academe. Project NOAH seeks to fulfill its vision of disaster-free and empowered communities by providing open access to accurate, reliable, and timely hazard and risk information that has been updated and enhanced using advanced technology. It also undertakes research projects to develop technologies and tools that further build the capacity of the government and the public in disaster preparedness and response. In March 2017, it was established in the University of the Philippines as the UP NOAH Center to conduct research, development, and extension services on natural hazards, disaster risk reduction, and climate change actions.
Project NOAH’s primary website interface with navigations on weather, sensors, flood, landslides, storm surge, boundaries, critical facilities, dengue monitoring, webSAFE and twitter which can be accessed at http://noah.up.edu.ph/
Background and Problem
The Philippines is constantly under threat from natural hazards from typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. This is further compounded by the extreme weather conditions created by climate change, as well as ongoing infrastructure development and population growth. As a result, disasters continually inflict greater costs on the country, both in terms of damage to property and loss of life. This situation will persist, and even worsen, unless specific measures are immediately undertaken to specifically address the ability to provide enough lead time for vulnerable communities to prepare and withstand disasters.
Solution and Impact
Project NOAH takes a multidisciplinary approach to the development of tools and systems for disaster prevention and mitigation through the improvement of scientific data available to various stakeholders. It uses a variety of advanced technologies to deliver accurate and reliable hazard information, such as early warning systems and hazard maps that could then be accessed through the Project NOAH web portal, its mirror sites, and the NOAH and Arko mobile apps.
The Project NOAH web portal provides critical information for disaster prevention based on near real-time weather data, flood and landslide hazard maps, storm surge inundation maps, and the identification of local critical facilities. The web portal also includes the WebSAFE application, which allows for smarter and more comprehensive preparation of resources in the case of an incoming severe weather event. For mobile users, Project NOAH is also accessible as a mobile app, providing the weather monitoring tools from the web portal such as satellite and Doppler radar data, information from the automated weather stations and the 4-hour ClimateX forecast. Additionally, DOST worked with the mobile team of Pointwest Technologies to launch the Arko mobile app, which allows users to view relevant hazard data for floods, landslides and storm surges in their area. This would enable them to locate safe locations nearby in the event of future hazards.
In early 2016, the Integrated Scenario-based Assessments of Impacts and Hazards (ISAIAH) was launched, which seeks to translate the hazards already mapped by Project NOAH into municipal-level risk assessments that detail the level of exposure and vulnerability of a community to specific hazards. This new component also allows citizens to contribute ground-level risk information through the use of the OpenStreetMap (OSM) tool. To contribute to significant and relevant research in the use of technology in disaster prevention and mitigation, Project NOAH also publishes its research in its Open File Reports that include assessments, studies, and research outputs that detail timely and critical information, as well as manuals, articles, commentaries, features, essays, and policy papers. From 2013 to 2016, five volumes of these reports have been published in a downloadable format on the NOAH Official Blog site. To date, Project NOAH garnered the following international awards:
- 2016 Top Smart City Initiative in Public Safety by the International Data Corporation Asia Pacific
- 2016 Harnessing Data for Resilience Recognition Award sponsored by USAID
- 2015 ASEAN ICT Awards – Silver Prize (Corporate Social Responsibility Category) for the Arko Mobile Application
- 2014 UN World Summit Awards Mobile Content (Empowerment Category) for the Arko Mobile Application
- “Mabibilib kayo sa ginhawang hatid ng ginagamit nating teknolohiya. I-type mo lang ang iyong lokasyon, at gamit ang ating Doppler radars at iba pang kagamitan, malalaman mo na ang kondisyon ng panahon, at kung gaano kalakas ang magiging pagbagsak ng ulan sa inyong lugar. ‘Di na ho tayo makikiusap. Hindi na tayo maghihintay ng balita; anytime po puwede na raw pasukan ‘yan at malaman.” — Benigno S. Aquino III, Former President of the Republic of the Philippines
- “Because the Philippines is prone to typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, this project can help everyone especially warning agencies, LGUs and other sub-government units to provide information to everyone in their jurisdiction. NOAH project can also be used by anyone by going to their official website.” — PhilPad
- “Gives timely storm surge advisories in affected localities; produced barangay-level hazard maps; provides near real-time weather information; and created apps and tools that make disaster preparation easier.” — Rappler
- “Highly useful. I have been using this app for more than a year. It has become my indispensable tool for predicting the weather (and flooding). I have turned into the unofficial weather forecaster in our area because of this, lol. Doppler radar feeds are the best! Keep them up! Salamat po!” — Mr. Perez, User
- “The best app. I can appreciate this app very well. The applicability and the suitability for the end use is very easy.” — Noel Mondragon, User
- “Good job. Thank you DOST-NOAH for this app. I’ve been looking for this kind of app. You did an excellent job for this. Thanks.” — Walter Lortas, User