Project NOAH’s ARKO app wins int’l award (Manila Bulletin)

By Edd K. Usman

Arko can be downloaded in Google Play and Appstore

Arko can be downloaded in Google Play and Appstore

Project NOAH, the country’s National Operational Assessment of Hazards apps, has again impressed an international awards body. Its ARKO mobile application (app) recently won the 2014 World Summit Awards (WSA).

ARKO, one of NOAH’s apps, emerged at the top of 450 other international mobile apps, to win the coveted WSA under the “m-Inclusion and Empowerment” category. The potentially life-saving mobile app works by using geo-location data from mobile phones, and provides an hourly rain forecast and typhoon track markers.

ARKO now has the chance to emerge the Grand Champion in its category whose winner will be announced in a global congress in Abu Dhabi, United Emirates, on February 1 to 3, 2015.

ARKO can be downloaded on Android and iOS smartphones.  It is not yet available for BlackBerry phones.

The Manila Bulletin learned about this award yesterday from Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, NOAH executive director.

Lagmay said the award is “a gesture of appreciation for all the hard labor that scientists and engineers of Project NOAH have done. It is validation that the output of a government project funded by taxpayers’ money is at par with the best in the world.”

OTHER NOAH AWARDS

One of NOAH’s nine components, and the biggest, won the Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation Award for 2014 given on May 8 in Geneva, Switzerland. That component is the P1.6-billion Disaster Risk Exposure, Assessment and Mitigation-Light Ranging and Detection (DREAM-LiDAR) 3D Mapping Project, now PHILIDAR 1 and 2.

Project NOAH, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), was launched on July 6, 2012 in Marikina City. It is being implemented by the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman, Quezon City.

On its website, NOAH cited the WSA as the “a first for the Philippines, as ARKO bested 450 other international mobile applications.”

Nominees for the WSA are based on how information technology is applied to empower social groups.

AWARD FOR ARKO

The NOAH team learned about the award from Peter Bruck, WSA chair.

“A global jury of 60 experts from nearly 60 countries has selected your product (ARKO) as a global winner of the WSA-mobile 2014,” Bruck said in his letter to Lagmay.

He said the awarding will be done in Abu Dhabi during the WSA-mobile Winners’ events for 2014 in Abu Dhabi.

Launched in 2003, the WSA-mobile is a flagship initiative of the United Nations framework of the World Summit for the Information Society. The aim is to select and promote the best mobile content and innovative applications worldwide.

ARKO APP

As a mobile app, ARKO provides accessible and understandable information on flood-prone areas and identifies safe locations for evacuation. It was developed by Project NOAH and Pointwest Technologies.

NOAH said ARKO works by using geo-location data from mobile phones, which gives it the ability to show flood maps where hazards are color-coded in red, yellow, and orange.

The potentially life-saving mobile app provides an hourly rain forecast as well as features on typhoon track markers. It gives information on the flood hazards in their community.

“A user of the ARKO app would immediately know the flood scenario in the place where he is located within a 250-meter radius,” Lagmay said.

OTHER AWARDS

Project NOAH’s mobile apps have been recipients of many other awards, such as the Anvil Award of Excellence, Future Gov Awards, and Best Telecom Project for SMART DevNet.

This article was originally published in Mb.com.ph (Manila Bulletin) on 6 November 2014.

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