Mapping with Light

  • Written by  OVCRE
  • Published in Features

To build resilient Filipino communities against the risks of unpredictable weather and natural hazards is what the DREAM stands for.

In a stricter sense, DREAM is an acronym for Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation, a program which has generated detailed flood hazard maps for the 18 major river basins of the country using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). It is like mapping flood-prone areas using light.

The DREAM program is one of the nine components of the government’s Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards Project or Project NOAH for short. Project NOAH was established in response to former President Benigno Aquino’s call to device proactive disaster risk reduction and management measures so the next time a strong typhoon strikes the country, the government and the people will be ready.

Every component of Project NOAH has its own focus using different systems, as in the case of the DREAM program which uses a technology called LiDAR. LiDAR is an emerging remote sensing tool capable of providing spatial data and information for hazard assessment, disaster risk management, flood modeling, urban development, and site assessment. Compared to other remotely sensed images, LiDAR data is highly accurate and more detailed.

The government saw an opportunity in using LiDAR data in the DREAM program. It expanded its reach, giving birth to the Phil-LiDAR 1 and Phil-LiDAR 2 Projects.