The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Monday announced that it was making accessible at no cost to the public all photos that the country’s first microsatellite has taken since it was launched into orbit on April 27 last year.
Diwata-1 has circled earth over 5,000 times and has taken thousands of photos since then.
But DOST officials could not give an official count yet since the images were still being retrieved and processed from Diwata-1 to a data distribution site developed by the PHL-Microsat program.
The program is a collaborative effort of the DOST, the University of the Philippines Diliman and Japan’s Hokkaido University.
Diwata’s data distribution site had a soft launch on Thursday, marking its one-year milestone in space.
Photos can be accessed through www.phl-microsat.upd.edu.ph following registration procedures, according to project leaders.
The initiative to give the public free access to photos captured by Diwata was aimed at stimulating research and exchange of knowledge as well as maximizing the use of these images, especially among researchers and the academe, said PHL-Microsat Project 3 leader Engr. Mark Edwin Tupas.
“We are opening up the photos to the public because it’s not just those working in the Diwata program who know how to make use of these satellite images and the images are already there, it would be a waste if usage won’t be maximized,” said Tupas in an interview with the Inquirer at the soft launch.
Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano Jr., PHL-Microsat leader and acting director of the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, said access to these images will remain free “under certain conditions” and “as long as we have continuous support from the government.”
Marciano said the public can get hold of these images but they cannot be used for commercial purposes and their sale is prohibited.
Aside from taking photos of other parts of the world, Diwata-1 is expected to capture images from about 1,000 selected areas in the Philippines, mostly for environmental monitoring until the end of its lifetime in November 2018, said Dr. Gay Jane Perez, PHL-Microsat Project Leader 5.
“The list includes populated areas because if a disaster strikes, we want to have a reference,” said Perez, identifying such world heritage sites as the rice terraces in the Cordilleras and Vigan in Ilocos Sur.
Diwata has also taken snapshots of Palawan and Occidental Mindoro from space.
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