Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute

University of the Philippines - Diliman

Early warning system for landslide prediction

With the multiple landslides that occur in the Philippines, slope failures have caused considerable damage, destruction of property and loss of lives. The ability to monitor slope movements in timely fashion is an integral component of a warning system that will inform the people of possible slope failures – giving them adequate lead time to relocate to a safer place.

To address this objective, a team of researchers from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman (EEEI-UPD) has developed a locally designed landslide sensor to observe movements underneath unstable slopes. In particular, the sensing system represents alternative instrumentation for measuring slope deformation and soil-water status in near real-time. The landslide monitoring system is composed of a sensor column array that is installed vertically into the slope up to 40m in depth. The sensor column consists of pipe segments – each segment containinga tri-axial accelerometer for tilt measurements and a capacitive type sensor for soil moisture measurements. “Measurements taken in each segment are accessed via Controller Area Network (CAN), similar to those used in automotive applications,” they explain. “The data from the sensor columns are sent wirelessly via available cellular base stations to a database for processing and interpretation.” The new sensors have undergone design for manufacturability (DFM) study and are currently being mass-produced by local manufacturers.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines Diliman, the project is expected to benefit areas affected by the particular slope with a high risk of rain-induced landslides. These sites will include communities where certain landslide engineering mitigation is not practical and permanent evacuation is the last option. “Since the target communities are expected to be the ones operating and maintaining the sensors upon completion of the project, we’re conducting seminars and trainings to prepare the community for the technology transfer,” says the team.

For more information about the project, please contact Mr. Earl Anthony V. Mendoza, Chief Science Research Specialistor Dr.Joel S. Marciano, Jr., Project Leader.