In May 2017, I conducted a short trip to the Philippines to visit some major customers including the National Power Corporation (NPC) in Iligan City and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Metro Manila. It was both a very educational and eventful visit. It was my first trip to the NPC, on the island of Mindanao, and it happened to coincide the day after tensions started between Philippine government security forces and affiliated militants in the region. It was quite the adventure, however with the support of our local distributor PT Cerna, we made it through this eventful day.
The visit to the NPC was a great success where we set out to demonstrate the SMS capability between remote stations and the base station at the NPC office, using Maestro modems and the local Globe Telecommunications. At the Iligan hydropower plant, the NPC already has several CR800-based systems measuring water level, spillway gate positions and data from power monitors. They are looking at expanding their network of systems once assured that the data will be delivered to their office staff reliably. SMS is very affordable in the Philippines and is widely supported, making it the communication method of choice. Hydropower is the second most dominant renewable energy resource in the Philippines and the NPC is one of the largest providers and generators of electricity in the Philippines. In 2015, NPC had a total of 1,735 Megawatts of generating capacity nationally and provided 50% of the power in the Mindanao Island (for a growing population of over 20.2 million people).
The second part of my trip involved visiting PAGASA’s Instrumentation group, Hydromet group and some existing PAGASA weather systems, alongside PT Cerna and Kyle Campbell, the Environmental Group Manager at Campbell Scientific, Inc. who made the long trip from rural Utah to the very crowded capital of Manila. PAGASA, which means “hope” in Filipino, is the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) agency of the Philippines. With over 100 million people in the Philippines, in a country prone to natural disasters (typhoons, flash flooding, earthquakes), the role of PAGASA in collecting accurate weather data and informing the local population of any incoming dangers is critical.
Kyle Campbell initiated these two days of visits with PAGASA with the aim to obtain an understanding of how other global NMHS agencies outside the United States approached meteorological data collection. Hearing their challenges, successes, goals, and strategies and listening to how the Campbell Scientific hardware and solutions contributed to all of these.
It was certainly reassuring to hear that our reputation for our range of data loggers was second to none and the #1 long term trusted data logger supplier on the market. PAGASA has set out to significantly expand their network of weather stations and hydromet stations in the coming years. With this new knowledge at hand, PT Cerna and CSA will be working very closely with PAGASA to meet their short and long term requirements.
Corinne Malot (SE Asia Sales Manager)