IGARSS 2010 - 2010 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium - July 25 - 30, 2010 - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Community Remote Sensing: GTZ Disaster Risk Management Projects


Community-based input to create natural disaster risk maps. GTZ and partners use remote sensing and community-based input to create risk maps using the following steps:

  • Production of a land use map with a resolution of approximately 10m pixel size. This is used as the status quo for land-use planning with community participation.
  • The land-use map is also used to determine vulnerabilities to natural hazards.
  • We use data from the Tropical Rainfall Monitoring Mission (TRMM) to determine the local distribution of rainfall. Furthermore these data are used to monitor rainfall in times of flooding events.
  • In 55 villages GTZ supported the community-based identification of flood-prone areas. This was done with GPS and the data were encoded into GIS. The maps were validated and displayed in the villages.
  • With the assistance of local communities evacuation centers in six Flood Early Warning Systems were located by GPS and marked in the respective maps.


German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), with leadership from the following individuals: Dr. Walter Salzer, head of the Environment and Rural Development (EnRD) program; Olaf Neussner, head of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) component; Francisco Jose, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), director of the office for Region VIII. Funding sources include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Commission of the European Union (EC). The activity currently encompasses three projects: a) Disaster Risk Management in Cities, Philippines, b) Strengthening DRM Integration into Local Development Initiatives in the Eastern Visayas Region, Philippines, and c) Disaster Risk Management in Rural Development in Region VIII, Philippines.


The Philippines are frequently devastated by natural disasters. Typhoons, for instance, are a regular phenomenon, accompanied by heavy rainfall that causes flooding, landslides and mudslides. These in turn destroy valuable agricultural land and settlements, and claim many lives every year. Other hazards exist in the form of eruptions of the Mayon or Mount Pinatubo volcanoes and, less frequently, earthquakes. Neither the population nor the majority of government agencies are adequately prepared to put preventive measures into action and to implement the right measures in the event of an emergency.

Objective: The population and local administrations are able to respond adequately to natural disasters. As a result, negative impacts of natural events are reduced and the living conditions of the population improved.

Approach: The project builds on disaster preparedness activities already in progress. It cooperates closely with the population affected, with local institutions, national authorities, local administrations and other organizations. Knowledge and awareness of local natural hazards and risks will be increased. Disaster risk management will be integrated in the local land-use and development planning process.

Examples of relevant activities include the drawing-up of hazard maps, the provision of equipment for and training in flood early warning systems, training for emergency situations, information campaigns, budgeting in the municipal budget and the integration of disaster preparedness in the school curriculum.

Results achieved so far: A regional map that identifies natural hazards has highlighted and impressed the situation upon policy-makers and the population at risk. A manual on earthquake-resistant construction techniques is aiding builders and property owners. Villages have been given assistance in drawing up emergency plans and analyzing risks. Six flood early warning systems are in operation. Following the large landslide in Southern Leyte in February 2006, in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives, GTZ has provided substantial support for emergency and rescue measures.


To be posted when available.


Project LeadOlaf Neussner (olaf.neussner@gtz.de, Skype: olafneussner)
Project Websitehttp://www.gtz.de/en/praxis/21023.htm


Villagers use a map produced with GPS/GIS in an emergency.

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