Geo-location firm HERE has announced its high-tech data capture vehicles had reached the halfway point of a 45,000-kilometer mission to create the first ever comprehensive digital map of the Philippine road network.
The $5.4-million project is managed by a consortium of Geodata Systems Technologies; Geodata Solutions, and FDSC, with HERE as technology partner.
Once completed, it will provide the Philippine Road Board with a highly detailed three-dimensional and 360-degree real-world view of its road network.
Data capturing includes identification of 57 specific attributes and assets from road width and length, to road surface conditions, guardrails, street signs, and traffic lights.
“This project provides the Road Board with the latest digital tools to meet the challenge of supporting sustained and inclusive economic growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty through maintenance and upgrades of our local roads,” said Ruby Soccoro Romero, Road Board’s Location Reference System project manager.
“We will be able to make better informed decisions and manage a more robust accountability framework to ensure funds are used responsibly,” she added.
HERE Asia Pacific director Brent Stafford noted that the Philippines is in the midst of an infrastructure boom with the government recognizing the importance of safe and efficient land transportation for more than 100 million citizens spread across over 7,000 islands.
“To manage this transformation, it is critical that government departments have objective ways of assessing funding requests and measuring results to ensure accountability.”
“Not only is the Philippines leapfrogging the technology capabilities of most advanced countries with this project, it’s also laying the digital foundations for the self-driving vehicles and connected smart cities of the future. The digital road model can today be applied to the challenge of reducing congestion by maximizing utilization of current transport infrastructure.”
The Philippine Road Board is responsible for the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC), a user pays model, which since 2000 has exacted payment from all motor vehicle owners to support road maintenance and improvement.
The Road Board allocates funds for road construction and maintenance projects for both national and local roads submitted by provincial and city governments and district offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Vehicle sales rose 23 per cent in the Philippines last year, matched by national government funding for the DPWH up to $6.7 billion in 2015, a more than three-fold increase since 2011.
Stafford said the logistical challenge of physically mapping a road network from scratch was significant, with six HERE True capture vehicles route planning with the assistance of local governments, which often chaperoned the vehicles.
“The HERE cars have had quite a few ferry journeys, have forged streams and encountered many dead ends on their travels around the country,” Stafford said.
“We found several roads labeled as 17 kilometer long in the government’s database was actually only 1.7 kilometer long, highlighting the data quality issues inherent in the old process. We’ve also found certain bridges listed on the database to be non-existent.”
Under the agreement, HERE will monitor and update the road network map on an ongoing basis with its Reality Lens solution allowing the Road Board to visualize and measure changes down to an accuracy of 2.5cm. Geodata’s JV partner, Foresight Development & Surveying Company, will capture data focusing on areas with difficult or obstructed access, such as narrow roads and underneath bridges.
With over 50 per cent of routes covered since October 2015, the HERE team said it is confident of completing the project ahead of the two-year schedule, with approximately five percent of the total road network likely to remain unmapped due to security issues or access limitations.