DOST teaches locals how to make effective maps (

By Mae Escartin

MABALACAT CITY, PAMPANGA – Maps may seem to be simple pieces of paper but are actually very useful and can even save many lives in times of natural calamities.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Office of Civil Affairs have teamed up for a campaign that introduces mapping.

The Science for Safer Communities Campaign was held last March 3 to 4 at the Oxford Hotel in Clark Field. Participants came from different provinces in the region: Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan, Bulacan, Zambales and Nueva Ecija.

Ken Adrian Aracan, senior research specialist for DOST’s Project Noah, discussed the importance of mapping to avoid fatalities when a disaster occurs.

“The maps that we will be distributing are necessary for the locals to know. It can give them information on what to do during disasters,” Aracan said.

He emphasized the need for locals to understand possible hazards in their area and plan for necessary action.

“Appropriate preparedness, mitigation and response activities must be based on appropriate hazard and impact scenarios,” he said.

Basic questions a map should answer include:

What are the possible hazards? The map is a representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features. It shows the topographic characteristics of the province. It presents the risks that might affect the people due to its location.

Where are the specific locations that are prone to different hazards? It shows the exact location of houses, streets and establishments in the city or provinces. It presents locations that are prone to different hazards such as drought, landslides, flood, tsunami and others.

Who and how many will be affected by the disasters? Since the map presents the detailed location of establishments within the area, it can show who might be affected by the disasters.

Why are the places prone to disasters? The maps can also explain why your place is prone to disasters. It demonstrates the level of water surrounding the place and the height of land where the establishment is constructed.

“Information and tools are available for communities to be safer. Let us collectively make our communities safer and resilient to disasters,” Aracan concluded.

This article was originally published in on 10 March 2014.

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