Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Philippine GIS Data Clearinghouse (PhilGIS) for Free GIS Data

The Philippine GIS Data Clearinghouse (PhilGIS) is a single-access, data-sharing portal of Philippine GIS/geospatial data – downloadable free of charge. It is a non-profit, non-governmental, public-service oriented entity whose main purpose is to promote and support the development and use of GIS/geospatial data especially for the Philippines. As such, it can enable the widespread use of GIS/geospatial data to bring about prompt, informed, and sensible decisions and help create a sustainable environment and sound local governance in the country. The site is constantly replenished with new GIS data as they become available.

PhilGIS was established in 2009 by Dr. Al Tongco, a research specialist on GIS at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.A. He’s been spreading the gospel of GIS in the Philippines and lately had conducted several GIS seminars and workshops in the country. He will continue to do so during brief stints from his regular job at the university. In the meantime, he strives to help Philippine GIS efforts online.

As a central repository of geospatial data, PhilGIS seeks to avoid duplication of data that has been developed elsewhere. Currently, PhilGIS is collecting available country-level vector and raster datasets. These are mostly culled from large global datasets developed by international agencies such as NASA and CGIAR. The resolution and scale are sufficient for regional and provincial level applications. Larger scale and higher resolution data, however, are needed for in-depth municipal and barangay-level spatial analysis.

PhilGIS, in a sense, is a collaborative effort similar to a participatory GIS. The growth of PhilGIS, therefore, largely depends upon data contributors and collaborators as well as volunteers.

Al has been involved in GIS in various capacities over the past 6 years. He had also worked in the academia for several years in different places of the Philippines. He served in the Visayas State University (Baybay, Leyte), Caraga State University (Butuan City, Mindanao), and Universidad de Zamboanga (Zamboanga City, Mindanao), as well as in PICOP Resources (Bislig, Surigao del Sur). He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in engineering from the University of San José Recolétos (Cebu City), University of the Philippines at Los Baños (College, Laguna), and Oklahoma State University (U.S.A.), respectively. Currently he is working on projects such as biomass energy geospatial analysis for Southwest Central Region U.S.A. and county government GIS development, as well as private GIS consulting. He is also involved in GIS training, assistance, and mentoring at OSU and McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

Visit Philippine GIS Data Clearinghouse (PhilGIS) for more info.


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