DOST bags award in Switzerland for flood maps project

Award winners and delegates: (from left) Prof. Eric Paringit, Associate Professor at UP Diliman, Dr.Mario Montejo, the secretary of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines with his wife, and Mrs Cecilia Rebong, ambassador and permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations — in Geneva, Switzerland. Photos from Martin Isenburg's Facebook page; used with permission

MANILA, Philippines — A project of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) mapping the country’s river systems and flood-prone areas has received an international award in Geneva, Switzerland last May 8.

The Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment Mitigation or DREAM received the Geospatial World Policy Award for “exemplary implementation of Geospatial Policies and Programs.” The award, which was received by DOST Sec. Mario Montejo and DREAM program leader Enrico Paringit, is given annually by the Geospatial World Magazine.

“We are happy as this confirms our work. This puts the Philippines on the map, both literally and figuratively,” Paringit said in a phone interview.

The DREAM program uses a technology called Light Detection and Ranging or LiDAR to create three-dimensional flood hazard models that are then incorporated on the website of Project NOAH or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards. DREAM has now completed mapping 18 of the country’s major river systems by flying LiDAR scanners mounted on leased small aircraft over the various bodies of water.

Paringit said that DREAM was nominated to the awards by a German software developer named Martin Isenburg.

“He just took notice of what we are doing and then even helped us develop some of the techniques,” Paringit said.

As of present, DREAM is mapping the other 257 river systems in the Philippines in the country.

“This award confirms that we are heading in the right direction, although we have a lot to catch up in terms of technology. But this says that we are in the right step,” Paringit said.

Video from Martin Isenburg’s YouTube page; used with permission