COMSTE develops ICT system that uses remote sensing and satellite imagery for 2011 agri

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 3, 2010- Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is developing an information and communication technology (ICT) system which provides a real time data and a model for local farmers as one of their projects next year.


The uses of remote sensing and satellite imagery anticipates heavy rains and drought, understanding the effects of climate change and pollution on productivity, and having an integrated view of the logistics of produce delivery to the market are competitive agriculture which signifies benefits of ICT in building resilience and adaptability into the susceptible agricultural sector and vulnerable high value crops.


The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that typhoon Juan alone has wrought almost P12 billion in farm damages where the Senator pinpointed the damage brought by storms such as Ondoy and Pepeng which threatened the agricultural supply of the country.


A former department of science and technology (DA) Secretary Dr. William G. Padolina, Chairman of the Agriculture and Food Panel of COMSTE overviewed the ICTs in the agricultural sector need stating that most poverty-related problems in the Philippines occur in the far-flung rural agricultural areas, the health of the sector also relies on the health of each individual farmer, and the import of accuracy and timeliness of information delivery to farmers. 


“Satellite imagery comes from their Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which can provide data measuring land-vegetation index, oceanic parameters such as sea surface temperature, ocean color, and many others due to its ability to capture data in 36 spectral bands. The information is free and accessible due to the recent purchase by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) of a MODIS receiver,” Dr. Josefino Comiso of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.


The NASA MODIS traverses the entire earth every 1-2 days on two (2) satellites and provides real-time data which is freely accessible with a MODIS receiver.


The COMSTE plans to deliver basic services such as decision support systems for the agricultural and rural sectors, and improving delivery services to the poor and far-flung areas.


The project aims to take advantage of structures already in place, specifically the far-reaching private telecommunications infrastructure all over the country, and the MODIS receiver currently with PAGASA. Given that satellite data from NASA through MODIS is free, and the means for distributions is already in place, then the challenge of setting up the project is in information processing and not for infrastructure funding.


It would be translating scientific and even numerical data from the satellite into applicable data for the use of farmers and fishermen in two (2) steps by analysis of numerical data from satellite, and with field data for calibration and confirmation, translate these into maps and models, translation and simplification of scientific data and its implications into relevant information that farmers and fisher folk can understand and use. (Jason de Asis)