Wednesday, May 29, 2024

DOST satellite project enhances PH terrestrial, maritime monitoring

Stakeholders of the Synthetic Aperture Radar and Automatic Identification System for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance (SAR with AIS) Project gathered in an online meeting last Thursday, March 11, to receive updates on the program’s current initiatives.

Philippine Space Agency directory general Joel Marciano Jr.

Conducted under the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the SAR with AIS Project began in June 2018 when Philippine researchers were given access to data tasking and sharing capabilities of the NovaSAR-1 satellite.

The NovaSAR-1 is a small S-Band SAR satellite launched into a 580-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit in September 2018. This earth observation satellite can ignore cloud cover to obtain earth observation data and detect marine structures such as marine vessels and aquaculture systems.

The satellite project has improved the country’s terrestrial and maritime monitoring and the applications of the project’s data are numerous. Today, it can be employed in disaster risk management, agriculture and environmental monitoring, land cover classification, as well as other fields.

During the meeting’s “Lightning Talks” portion showcased how the SAR with AIS data was being used in collaborative initiatives between DOST-ASTI and government agencies such as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the National Security Council (NSC), and the National Coast Watch System (NCWS).

First, there is the Artificial Intelligence for Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (AI4CAF). The initiative is the joint research collaboration between DOST-ASTI and the PSA for the upcoming 2022 census on agriculture and fisheries. Object detection, mapping, and count/area estimation of selected major crops and aquafarms in the country occurs through artificial intelligence (AI), remote sensing, and earth observation.

Next, the NSA works together with ASTI to meet the territorial integrity and ecological balance goals of the National Security Policy 2017-2022. The SAR with AIS Project fulfils security-related image requests to support the territorial integrity goal.

In terms of ecological balance, it helps monitor events that may become natural disasters and aids in predictive modelling for disaster resilience.

Lastly, the NCWS has partnered with ASTI for its SeaVision maritime surveillance system. The system uses the data from the SAR with AIS Project to identify vessels of interest in Philippine territory, determine if these vessels have crossed specific sea lanes, and locate areas where maritime incidents have occurred.

“The NovoSAR-1 Satellite and the associated methodologies and infrastructures serves as another weapon in our arsenal that we can tap to provide better solutions to our nation’s challenges in studying, monitoring, preserving and protecting our national, natural, and built environment,” said Joel Marciano Jr., directory general of the Philippine Space Agency.

The other stakeholders present in the meeting were the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and Space Technology Applications Mastery, Innovation, and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program.

The SAR with AIS Project data is free for government agencies and academic institutions. Civilian and security agencies also make use of this data. To request access, contact


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