The Philippines is set to develop a tablet-like device to be used as a disaster response tool for natural calamities. The Mobile Operational System for Emergency Services (MOSES) is an eight-inch mobile tablet which can be used to transmit real-time information about adverse weather conditions and other natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons.
The Philippines sits astride a typhoon belt and is frequented by roughly 20 storms and typhoons a year which makes disaster response a priority in the country. With MOSES, citizens can get data from a Doppler radar sensor on a range of weather variables, including precipitation, direction and speed of wind, and location-specific water levels of rivers. The device can also provide hazard maps, images of evacuation sites, and blocked and open roads.
It also has AM radio, camera, SIM card, television and video functions which provide utility during emergency situations. It is also built for rough handling, encased by a hard plastic which makes it durable and mobile enough for easy transport. It also has a long battery life that can last up to three days.
The Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, Mario Montejo, said, “MOSES will complement the DOST’s NOAH project (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards). NOAH is an online weather monitoring system which is accessible to the general public. It provides users with simple interactive net-based information on the latest weather, area-specific flood and rainfall data.
“MOSES is now at the prototype level,” says Ricky Semilla Jr., MOSES project director for NTEK Communications, the tablet’s all-Filipino software and hardware developer.”Product development took about two months, starting in April,” he says.
More tweaking and testing is necessary before MOSES is field-ready. Testing will be done in August to make sure there are no glitches in the communication process and to make sure that the tablets actually perform when connected to the internet.
Also, local governments will need to invest in internet connections with speeds of 3 Mbps or higher since many rural areas especially the most vulnerable ones where the tablet will be most useful do not have access to high-speed Internet.
The goal is to provide all of the country’s 42,000 barangays with MOSES tablets to aid people in decision-making during natural disasters.