How satellites help fight COVID-19 in PH

Published June 14, 2021, 4:17 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Did you know that even satellites orbiting the Earth are also playing a role in the ongoing fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines?

A screenshot of the COVID-19 Space Data Dashboard developed by Philippine Space Agency and the Department of Science and Technology.

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has jointly developed a dashboard that presents data related to the effects of the pandemic in the country, which have been collected from satellites.

PhilSA Director General Joel Marciano Jr. said Earth observation and remote sensing satellites have been used for disease control and tele-epidemiology including for COVID-19 response.

“This is a dashboard that shows how we can use satellites in the time of COVID or pandemic,” Marciano said in a virtual briefing on Monday, June 14.

The dashboard was jointly developed by PhilSA and the Department of Science and Technology-Advance Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI).

Marciano said it was created “to analyze and compare various data sets from satellites that assist in monitoring the economic impact of COVID-19.”

“As demonstrated through this dashboard, we identify objects and changes using satellite images as an increasingly efficient way of monitoring the environment,” he said.

The dashboard features an interactive map of the Philippines where users can filter a specific category to show the data pertaining to traffic monitoring, as well as air and water quality of a certain location.

It can also show the difference in the night light radiance over Metro Manila observed during the lockdown period last year.

The official explained that PhilSA uses artificial intelligence and remote sensing techniques which enables them to monitor critical infrastructure, movement of goods or trade, changes in emission and pollution levels “as we enter the pandemic, throughout the pandemic, and as we emerge from the pandemic.”

“This can help our country determine our economic recovery strategies and monitor the ensuing pace of recovery,” he said.

The agency’s COVID-19 Space Data Dashboard is publicly accessible through http://space.gov.ph/spacedata/project/covid19.

 
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