Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez emphasized the critical importance of spatial data in tackling the country’s growing vulnerability to climate change.
In her presentation on June 08 at the Earth Observation Forum of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing held in Nice, France, she revealed how PhilSA plans to mobilize space data, through its sovereign satellites and curated satellite data sources, ground stations, and high-performance computing systems.
“Data is already available and there is the technical capacity to host this data, but the challenge remains on how this data is being translated into actionable insights. For us to realize the economic value, there is a need to maximize what we can get from the space data, from generating maps, forecasts, and advisories, which serve as an impetus to action insights, which benefit our end-users, such as our fishermen or farmers,” Dr. Perez said during her talk on June 10, 2022.
PhilSA indicated that the important aspect of space data mobilization is a requirements assessment, presently being done through the 2021 – 2030 Decadal Survey.
The Decadal Survey has brought together the scientific community and the public and private sectors to identify priority issues and objectives in Earth observation and other satellite applications most significant for the Philippines in the future
PhilSA initiated the activity in collaboration with the STAMINA4Space Program’s Advanced Satellite Development and Know-How Transfer for the Philippines (ASP) Project.
PhilSA said that the survey has six focus areas, namely:
- Hydrologic Cycles and Climate Studies
- Weather, Air Quality, and Atmospheric Processes
- Earth Surface and Interior: Dynamics and Processes
- Hazards and Disaster Risk, Reduction, and Management
- Aquatic Ecosystems and Water Resources Management
- Terrestrial Ecosystems and Land Resources Management
The results of the Decadal Survey will serve as the basis for determining priority space missions that would address the most urgent and important challenges in the country.
“By knowing the needs and current capabilities, we develop programs that will directly enhance the capability to harness Earth Observation data,” Dr. Perez explained.
Among the programs that PhilSA has set up to utilize and cascade EO data is the ISKUELA, or Inclusive SSTA Know-how Utilization, Exchange, and Localization Activities.
ISKUELA is made up of various projects and activities that seek to educate and strengthen the capacity of partners from academia, business, media, communities, and government on how to use space data for their purposes.
One of these projects is SIICaP, or the Space Information Infrastructure Capacity Building and Training Program. Its goal is to raise awareness and understanding of space information infrastructures and their applications through monthly events like webinars, hackathons, workshops, short courses, and resource person support.
In addition to the ISKUELA program, PhilSA actively contributes spaceborne data to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to aid in disaster management and response. And, through one of its online communication projects, #PhilippineSatelliteWatch, PhilSA keeps the public up to speed and informed about how the Philippines uses satellite images for a variety of purposes.
“We recognize that there are gaps in space data utilization for climate action at present. One way to bridge this gap is to strengthen space science communication and education efforts. It is also crucial to reach out to a wide range of audiences and stakeholders to demonstrate the beneficial results of using space-borne information to deal with uncertainties in our environment,” Perez said.
“Aside from informing stakeholders and end-users, we enjoin them to join the mission and take part in using data. Through their participation and the resulting exchange in knowledge and information, parameters and standards will be developed to further improve the processing and utilization of space data. With this, data will be more socially-responsive and useful,” she added.