Thursday, October 7, 2010

DOST, Smart ink pact on co-location of rain gauges

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has announced that it has forged a deal with Smart Communications for the placement of telemetric rain gauges in the wireless operator’s cell sites.

DOST, through the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), signed the agreement with Smart on October 5 initially covering 63 cell sites nationwide.

“The co-location of our telemetric gauges in Smart cell sites will complement our on-going program to strengthen the capacity of Pagasa in issuing weather forecasts and flood warnings to the public,” DOST secretary Mario G. Montejo said in a statement.

Each telemetric rain gauge automatically sends rainfall data to Pagasa’s 44 Automatic Weather Stations in the form of short messaging system or SMS. The data will then be posted real-time in Pagasa’s website that is accessible to the public.

The co-location arrangement also means Pagasa telemetric rain gauges will have uninterrupted power supplies during power outage caused by the weather disturbances.

DOST undersecretary and concurrent Pagasa acting administrator Graciano P. Yumul Jr. said the pact will save the weather bureau additional expenses in setting up new locations for its weather forecasting instruments since Smart cell sites are already in place nationwide.

The new agreement expands a similar initiative previously covering Metro Manila. Smart offered to accommodate the installation of the additional Pagasa rain gauges in its cell sites nationwide.

Pagasa and Smart engineers earlier met to identify the ideal sites for co-location of the rain gauges in areas such as Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Bulacan, Zambales, Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Mindoro Oriental, and Marinduque Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon in Luzon and Negros Occidental, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Bohol, Northern Samar, and Leyte in the Visayas.

Other provinces in Mindanao considered for the project include Lanao Del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani, Davao Del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

“Smart is very happy to be part of this noble partnership which aims at saving the lives of our people during disasters,” Smart Communications president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno said in a statement.

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