Hazard Map Saved Hundreds of Lives!

Hazard Map? What is it?

Will hazard map help save a life or just another tool in extracting data from the community?

Its been a while since I haven’t posted any activity.

But while conducting extension work, I was inspired by the result of their activity.

I learned that a hazard map is important in times of disaster.

For that reason, I wrote this article to inspire you too with their activity.

Don’t know what a hazard map is?

Read this informative post about hazard mapping.

Download this free guide from Japanese experts on how to do it.

They shared hazard mapping along with vulnerability mapping in disaster prevention.

For the purposes of definition,

Hazard maps indicate settlement areas that are at risk from floods, avalanches, landslides and rockfall. A separate map exists for each of these hazard categories. The maps can be used to identify areas that could be flooded by the next storm, locations where avalanches could be released and slopes where a landslide could arise.

The hazard maps also provide detailed information about the causes, course, spatial scope, intensity and probability of occurrence of natural hazard events.  www.planat.ch

Would you like to know how this little map saved hundreds of lives?

Read on.

As I read the report from my colleagues, I learned that they were conducting DRRM and hazard mapping in Brgy. Longsob as an extension activity. The villagers conducted this for the first time.

Based on Republic Act 10121, DRRM is 

the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster. Prospective disaster risk reduction and management refer to risk reduction and management activities that address and seek to avoid the development of new or increased disaster risks, especially if risk reduction policies are not put in place.

disaster risk reduction management training
Dr. Malabarbas discusses RA 10121 to the villagers in Brgy. Longsob, Calbayog City.

They were also informed of the RA 10121 as discussed during the series of activities. The output of their activity was an improved Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) plan.

Another activity was disaster drill awareness and hazard mapping.

With the help of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, the team of extension agents put markers of hazard-prone areas and early warning system.

Everyone was involved in the activity, not only the officials but even residents. This makes the extension activity more useful and meaningful.

Disaster drill in Brgy. Longsob

What happened then?

Last December 28, 2018 Tropical depression Usman downpours and devastated Calbayog City particularly in riverine areas.

Several people were reported dead in other neighboring villages.

When we visited Brgy. Longsob for action research, I asked what happened during the disaster.

According to them, the water level was too high. The emergency water level monitoring they set up was even destroyed by the heavy current.

Looking at their hazard map (below) the identified areas as hazard-prone (high risk) was in red.

hazard map
Hazard Map of Brgy. Longsob

And it occurred that their community hazard mapping was exactly correct.  Their areas in the red zone were heavily destroyed while the community residents also were able to relocate themselves before the flood.

The community knows best!

Benefits of Community Hazard Map

The residents said that the tragedy was unexpected, but even in those circumstances the disaster drill, planning, and orientation was able to equip the residents.

Moreover, when asked if there were casualties, there answer – NONE!

Thanks to the Hazard Map and the DRR drill that were conducted by NwSSU extension agents and the local DRR team.

The residents were aware and prepared about how to be resilient in times of disaster.

And also thanks to the hazard map.

Many lives were saved because of it. The residents were aware of where to go and evacuate.

Its one the activities that our extension agents are doing.

The essence of community participation

Capacitating people to be resilient is involving them in planning.

Without participation, there would be no results.

The true meaning of extension work is not building back better, but in helping people to become resilient and survive in times of disaster and unforeseen circumstances.

Community Participation
Hazard Mapping with the Community residents in Brgy. Longsob

2016 Inter-agency research, development and extension In-house review Cluster 3: Experience

Worth the experience!

Results of 2016 Inter-agency In-house RDE review.


Last August 2 and 3, 2016 the Eastern Visayas State University held the 2nd Level RDE symposium in Borongan City, Samar.

It was participated in by different SUCs in the cluster 3 RRDEN VICARP consortium in the Eastern Visayas namely: Samar State University (SSU), University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) and Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU).

The opening message was delivered by the ESSU President welcoming the participants of the different competing universities.

Dr. Capuno gives inspirational message to researchers
Dr. Capuno gives the rational of the in-house review with an inspirational message to researchers

Meanwhile, after the opening remarks, the chairperson of the review and panel evaluator Dr. Othello Capuno, inspired the researchers by a heartwarming message to the participating researchers and SUCs. The message highlights the importance of conducting quality research in the fields of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources.

While advocating this, he also added that we do not do research for the sake of conducting research but also to compete with others and emphasized the essence of competition in Research Development and Extension work. A globally competitive research is in demand nowadays and should be the norm of researchers.

In this sense, he was right because we are now in the age of . As an agricultural country, researches should helped not just the researcher but the entire community and would be later used as sustainable development practices in the region.

Presentation of Research Paper during 2016 Inter-agency In-house reviewThe two day inter-agency RDE was participated in by 4 SUCs which is part of the 3rd Cluster. A total of 19 research and extension papers were presented. Eleven papers were under the completed research category and five research papers were on-going research. For the extension papers presented two of which are completed and one was an on-going extension activity.

Completed research papers presented

Coastal Resource Profile of Tarangnan, Samar Phil. – SSU

Rapid Aquatic Resources Appraisal, Catbalogan city – SSU

Performance Evaluation of Country Pig-Fish Integration System in Agro- Ecosystem in Northmen Samar- UEP

Inventory if Marine Resources in the Island Town of Biri -UEP

Development of Promotion of cut flower and Ornamental Plants in Northmen Samar -UEP

Increasing Productivity of wetland rice ecosystem through integrated rice-fish culture -UEP

Fermentation inhibitor of Alcohol from tuba to vinegar using ceriops tagal (rhizophoraceae) bark – ESSU

Compressive Behavior of different parts of bamboo considering the position of nodes on test specimen- NwSSU

Consumers preferences and profitability of the native and upgraded native chicken in western samar – NwSSU

Development and Creation of Vulnerability Index Management System – NwSSU

Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to : Basis for designing adaptation system – NwSSU

On-going Research Papers presented

Climate change impacts and adaptation among mangrove dependent communities – SSU

Raft and long-line culture method of Green mussel in Samar – SSU

Evaluation of different preparations of spent mushroom substrate as growing media component for potted plants – UEP

Acceptability and quality evaluation of fish bone tea – ESSU

Improved farming techniques of oyster -SSU

Extension (completed)

Extension project on no-wash, odorless, hog fattening technology-ESSU

Extension projet onbreeding and production of Meat type chicken – ESSU

Extension (On- going)

Breeding and dispersal of Meat type native chicken -ESSU

For me as a novice researcher, it was my second time to attend RDE. But I was impressed with the host in facilitating the activity.

If you can just imagine, in a matter of 7 and a half hour, 19 papers were reviewed and evaluated which lasted up to 5:30 pm approximately.

Dr. Capuno hoisted a right thumbs up for the host.

Engaging Social Night for Researchers

Social Night at RDE In-houseAfter the first day of presentation, dinner was served coupled with the rustic melody of the acoustic band of the ESSU. While participants were entertained with the angelic voice of the band, a singing challenge kindled when one participant challenges others to sing with the accompaniment of the band.

Fortunately our research head of San Jorge campus is talented enough to show off to all that we are not lagging behind when it comes to singing.

The second day was filled with excitement as each of participants awaits for the announcement of the winners.

Dr. Capuno said that “we should remember that this is competition”. All of us are winners because we have presented our research papers but the panel has to chose which of the entries are best amongst others.

He also reminded the presenters to present well the result and try to maximize the time alloted for the presentation.

Around 10 in the morning Aug. 3, 2016 finally the winners were announced.

Of all the entries, two were qualified to present a paper on the 3rd level symposium which will be held in Visayas State University. While others were for poster presentation.

Winners of 2016 Inter-agency In-house review

Winners of 2016 inter-agency In-house review
Winners of 2016

For completed research 3rd best paper were awarded to Samar State University and 2nd best paper is awarded to NwSSU.

“Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to Climate change: Basis for designing adaptation system.”

Indeed, in today’s ever changing climate, vulnerability assessment is necessary.

Check these 7 reasons why vulnerability assessment is necessary.

As a short background of the research, the researchers focused on climate change adaptation in coastal communities in Calbayog City.

Because environment and social systems is complex, adaptation to climate change is also a complex activity to achieve sustainable development.

Thus, socioeconomic and ecological profiles of coastal communities were gathered. In the age of sustainable development, assessing all four dimensions is salient in addressing adaptation options such as social, economic, governance and environment. These are all captured in the Vulnerability Index Management System (VIMS). The computation of the vulnerability index which is important for climate change adaptation were done using a software calculator (VIMS) which were also developed by the same researchers to compute for vulnerability.

While the panel appreciates the research, according to them this has to be shared to the community (which will be the next activity of the group).

Conducting research and extension is fun. It may be difficult at first but its reward is priceless.

For the winners, congratulations!

The Research Team
The Research Team

How to use Open source GIS software for urban planning

Ever wonder how to make use of for ?

Nowadays, planning for the community has become more attractive by many researchers because of and to address the notion of .

If you like urban planning, there are some open source that can help you to map your community. Of course, you can still use participatory mapping using PRA tools.

With regards to mapping your city or municipality to know which is strategic places to put up buildings or to avoid traffic, you can use open source gis software.

In this article, I will show you simple steps to calculate the shortest path to avoid traffic for any city or municipality using .

For your information, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are designed for defining the three factors of space (represented from the X, Y, and Z planes) and time. The signals within the satellites let the GIS to view information in term of longitude, latitude, and elevation (when comparing sea level).

GIS can be useful for scanning, referencing, and reproducing older maps at any desired scale. Using GIS, several archeological geological maps (having different scales) are combined right single map (with single scaling) with considerably more accuracy, thus, save your time of scientists, engineers, and researchers who require to check the region.

Using the accurate scaling from GIS, different projects might be planned without having additional equipments for surveying the location. The different projects that may be planned and implemented using applications of GIS in geological mapping may be anything from creating a dam or reservoir to roads, highways and railroads with an entire town. The benefits of the utilization of GIS in geological mapping are visible when different projects may very well be entirely planned without even leaving the conference room!

Okay, so much for TRIVIA.

I did this mapping using open source gis software for urban planning to help our city. This is unsolicited help, I did it because I like doing things on my own to help other people and the community.

Step 1. Download open source software QGIS.

It’s free software. There are lots of GIS mapping software out there, but if you are looking for free, this one stands out the rest of other free softwares for mapping. Many researchers are now using this one.

Download it here.

Step 2. Download Google earth.

It’s free!

When I made this urban planning using open source software, I have no data on hand, good thing that Google Earth saves me time.

Step 3. Install the QGIS and Google Earth.

Visit the documentation for QGIS here and some very nice tutorial for beginners here.

Step 4. Create and save a digitize kml from google earth.

You can read the tutorial here on how to create map and save to kml or kmz.

This is the map I generated from google earth.


Step 5. Georeferenced satellite image from google earth to the place you are going to map.

Follow along with this simple tutorial on georeferencing here. Notice the push pins buttons in yellow? Those are the point that is assigned to each coordinates which you will need in the QGIS georeferencing.

calbayog street map

Step 6. Open your QGIS software and install your road map plugin.

You can do this by following this simple tutorial on network analysis.

QGIS road plugin

Read the detailed tutorial here on Network analysis here.

Step 7. Overlay to your downloaded image to your QGIS.

The result of your network analysis will be overlaid with a georeferenced map from google earth.

overlayed QGIS

 This is the result of overlaying the georeferenced image to the kmz file in QGIS.

georeferenced and overlaid gcp

Step 8. Calculate for the shortest path.

Now that you have everything in place. Fill the data on the road plugin you see in the red circle. You just need to point in the image where you would start and where it would end. Then click CALCULATE. It will give you the result in length and time (sec).

QGIS shortest path

 This image shows the shortest path from HOME point to our university NwSSU. The lines in red is calculated by the software itself. It tells us that this is the shortest path that you would take to avoid traffic or tardiness in class and office works.

Capoocan - NwSSU shortest path
Capoocan – NwSSU shortest path

Step 9. Congratulations. You are done!

Have any questions?

Contact me through my social network site.

Urban Development using CBMS and GIS Modelling

Urban development using Community- Based Monitoring System (CBMS): Is this possible?


There are many things that you can do with CBMS especially if you integrate it with Geographical Information System (GIS).

In this article I will focus on the use of Community-Based Monitoring System as used in GIS for social program planning.

This article is also an excerpt of my proposal submitted in our institution.

Basically, there are two common applications of GIS 1) classified as project-based GIS and 2) institutional GIS applications. The first is focused in feasibility studies like site suitability, but also simulation studies, for instance in erosion modeling while the latter is found in governmental agencies like national topographic surveys, cadastral organizations and national census bureau’s (DE BY 2001).

In these institutional GIS applications, the purpose is to stay-up-to-date; provide data to others in the form of digital map (Ibid).

Other important uses of GIS hitherto have been is for policy implementation as applied by many researchers, engineers, government agencies. In fact, HLURB recognizes the importance of GIS in mapping as mentioned and included in the approved guidelines for the formulation of a CLUP.

Overtime, GIS has been adopted as a tool for policy implementation by many researchers. From national government, LGU down to BLGU, GIS has been an effective tool to analyze salient social conditions in the community.

For instance, mapping analysis program (MAP) was used for policy research options among HEIs in northern Philippines which aimed to: 1) develop a GIS-based decision support system (DSS) to establish geo-referenced data and information of HEIs and programs that incorporates and builds upon current understanding of the spatial distribution and cartographic modelling; and 2) operationalize such DSS for policy research development on HEIs (Pascual et al 2004).

Meanwhile, in the national government, Lagunzad (2003) studied how Geographical Positioning System (GPS), GIS and the traditional database applications will help in the management of the highway network using a common Locational Referencing System (LRS) that will integrate all data on road and bridge inventories.

In Palawan, GIS have been have proven highly supportive to Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS) implementation although its complexity and technical interpretation of CBMS results requires ‘experts’ in the planning office (http://www.pep-et.org/fileadmin/medias/pdf/CBMS_training/spatial_database).

In the rural village level, BLGUs used GIS to digitize the maps of schools, health centers, population density and overseas workers (http://www.cookbook.hlurb.gov.ph/4-01-03-how-we-use-gis-pateros), and at the same time gather information for the preparation of a Barangay map to use in the barangay hall and to gather useful data in the preparation of the CLUP (http://www.cookbook.hlurb.gov.ph).

In addition, empowered rural villagers in Barangay Esperanza set the direction and implementation of their own village’s development efforts through GIS (Tongco, 2011).

GIS helped the Barangay in several ways viz: mapping soil type and nutrient levels as well as determining the appropriate crops, mapping the distribution of coconut production and copra output based on several factors such as elevation and tree intervals, mapping denuded areas for replanting, and planning and implementing a better water supply system for an increasing population (Ibid).

On the other hand, GIS can be used to map village overseas foreign workers (OFW) to keep track of their whereabouts and working conditions, as well as for fundraising purposes (Ibid).

Moreover, in foreign countries, GIS is also used to map hunger and malnutrition to target nutrition programs in Panama, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic with the use of ArcGIS Spatial Analyst.

The end result was an illustration of malnutrition mapping manual with a goal to increase the technical capacity of developing countries and provide them with the tools and expertise to conduct their own malnutrition mapping exercises.

Read the full report about GIS application on malnutrition here.

It is also used for Malaria prevention in Kenya. Results showed through spatial analysis of bed net distribution patterns and malaria infection rates and were mapped using GPS and GIS technology.

Read the full report here for your reference.

Importance of GIS in Social Program Planning

Stephen Covey once wrote, ‘the way we see the problem is the problem.”

Indeed the way we see the problem is actually our biggest problem.

Many of our government programs and projects are not based on the needs of the community. For this reason many  development programs and failed.

Implementer’s have a different way of doing things and implementing a program because often times these implementer’s do not see what is really going on in the community.

In this essence, the community is the best source of information as to what the programs might be implemented.  According to one interview conducted by a team of experts:

“People are able to look at the information based on where they live or areas they are familiar with and obtain a better understanding.”

To better understand the world and how it operates, a visual representation of phenomena could be created.

A spatial correlation between different phenomena: in what way are occurrences/events occurring in the same location” is needed to for effective implementation.

In order to make effective policy and strategic intervention, a general knowledge of the ways human societies operate must be combined with data on local conditions.

Hence, geodemographic characterization (Kemp, 2003) or social mapping through GIS spatial analysis will help implementers, stakeholders and policy makers to get a visual view of the important phenomena occurring in an area.

As with other decision support system (DSS), GIS is very effective at identifying strategic intervention points and a good entry point to unite diverse coalitions and stakeholders.

To capture these strategic points, a set of variables is needed to capture the salient features of a community which could be done through household community survey and participatory mapping.

Such information will serve as a database of the community’s socio-economic profile. The database will be used in data modeling to provide information in the form of raster and vector representation.

The latter being strongly favored in applications of GIS to social phenomena will be used in spatial analysis- a set of techniques and tools designed to analyze data in spatial context (Goodchild).

This will then provide a spatial map which serves the following functions, a) Identifying targeted areas of discrimination or areas for intervention; b) and showing universal problems of concern across communities.

Maps generated not just provide new insights possible for intervention, but it perfectly captures the salient features of the community where significant policy can be drawn out.

Will this be sufficient to implement a program?

It depends who is working with the database and analyzing the generated map. Also, it needs a “triangulation” (I call it that way), using PRA tools.

But by looking at the map, you can draw some conclusions on what intervention you may implement in your community.