The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has recently established the Geospatial Database Office (GDO) to enhance the mapping and management of the country’s abundant natural resources.
Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga officially announced the creation of the GDO on June 27. Earlier that day, she presented an overview of the office to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. during a sectoral meeting, highlighting its significant role in resource management.
The GDO’s primary objective is to conduct comprehensive mapping of the country’s surface water sources, forest cover, and land management using advanced surveillance techniques and specialized software tools.
Loyzaga said that accurately identifying and documenting these resources will facilitate more effective accounting and management practices within the DENR.
Through the establishment of the GDO, the DENR seeks to create a solid foundation for understanding and safeguarding the nation’s natural resources.
She said this initiative reflects the government’s commitment to responsible resource management and underscores the importance of data-driven decision-making in preserving and maximizing the benefits of valuable assets.
“The geospatial database utilizes satellite imagery and other tools to process information such as the location of river basins and the flow of those river basins,” Loyzaga explained.
The office, which currently has 10 personnel, was established shortly after her appointment last year and has been operational since January of this year.
In addition to mapping resources, the GDO’s capabilities extend to adapting infrastructure design to anticipated changes in rainfall patterns due to climate change.
“What that also allows us to do is, given climate change projections… What we are able to do now is design our infrastructure according to the anticipated rainfall changes predicted by scientists,” the DENR chief stated.
The office’s value also lies in its ability to detect the presence or absence of specific resources and anticipate the potential carbon sequestration capacity based on the species present in different forest cover areas.
According to Loyzaga, this information is crucial for addressing climate change and mitigating the impacts of disasters.
Regarding funding, she said that the GDO is currently operating within the agency’s budget for this year and declined to specify the amount they would request for the office in next year’s government budget.
The GDO has been collaborating with the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) to leverage the use of satellites and surveillance in their mapping efforts.