Friday, January 17, 2020

Taal Volcano Eruption and the Mapping Initiatives

Taal Eruption Mapping Initiative for Humanitarian Response - Schadow1 Expeditions

On the noon of January 12, 2020, a Sunday, coming from an escalated level since March 2019, the Taal Volcano has erupted and billowed out ash plumes up to 17 kilometers up in the atmosphere, spreading its ash clouds from its crater up north to Batanes in just 4 hours. This eruption has enveloped most of South Luzon and Metro Manila with light-brown colored ash from its phreatic-magmatic eruption. The massive evacuation took place and there is a need for a navigation map for efficient response.

Ash clouds billow from Taal, Batangas to Northern Luzon in just 4 hours.
Himawari Geo-Stationary Satellite

The Taal Volcano Eruption of 2020

Over 300 volcanic quakes have been recorded across the caldera to which PHIVOLCS, the government agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes and volcanic eruption has set a 14-km critical danger zone where the mandatory evacuation has been ordered and 17-kilometer danger zone for the hazards that may be experienced if Taal would explode bigger than its phreatic eruption on Sunday.

293 Barangays have been affected while 168 of those are under mandatory evacuation.

Tulustech Innovations, our partner in mapping training and innovations has published the list of barangays affected by the eruption.

Schadow1 Expeditions knew the need to help navigate responders and people to help them with the logistics of relief operations by allowing them the capability to be routed where the evacuation centers are.

Schadow1 Expeditions 3D Routing
3D Routing of the 3D Terrain Navigation Map by Schadow1 Expeditions

Mapping Volunteers at Work

With the help of various volunteers who validated evacuation source data, we were able to publish successive releases of our Humanitarian Version of the Schadow1 Expeditions GPS Routable Map of the Philippines with over 200 evacuations centers, blocked roads due to ashfalls and fissures, medical and government, facilities that would help responders on planning and navigation on the Taal Eruption Crisis.

Schadow1 Expeditions Humanitarian GPS Map and Evacuation Centers
The Schadow1 Expeditions Humanitarian GPS Map with Evacuation Centers

Schadow1 Expeditions GPS Humanitarian Map on devices
The Schadow1 Humanitarian GPS Map on actual GPS devices during operations

In addition to this, our mapping expedition of the Taal Volcano Island in 2012 has introduced unique data, including all its monitoring stations, official and unofficial trails and access points as well as survey points. These data have been shared as open data to be used for Disaster Risk Reduction and Tourism.

All of these data are available on the map we provide to responders.

Schadow1 Expeditions Taal Eruption Map Area of its Humanitarian Map

If you are a responder and involved in humanitarian (and animal rescue) operations and needed a map for your navigation devices with up-to-date information on routes and evacuation centers, head-on and download our free-of-charge Humanitarian Activation Map at our download page.

We also need the validation of our automatically geocoded evacuation center list. Once verified, we are including these in our map. Additionally, we are also seeking assistance for mapping volunteers to upload the verified data to OpenStreetMap.

If you would like to help, please head on to our Taal Eruption Evacuation Centers Listing to map and verify evacuation centers.

Guidelines for the Mapping Initiative is published here:

At the noon of January 12, 2020, Taal Volcano that has been virtually silent for over forty-three years has once again erupted which started as a phreatic eruption. In a matter of hours, by 18:30 UTC +8, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has upgraded the situation from Alert level 1 since March 2019 to Alert Level 4 as volcano as released steam and ash plumes that reached to over 3 kilometers high in the atmosphere and enveloping a large area of the island of Luzon in the Philippines with its plumes and spreading ashfall as far as 80 kilometers north of its location...
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26666.98247
Pages: 50
Publication: 01-2020

Update 01/24/2020:

Office of Civil Defense - Department of National Defence (PH) through United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) has given us additional names of evacuation centers for Taal Eruption evacuees which needed to be located and geocoded. We added this in the list and machine-geocoded over a hundred of them which still require help from volunteers for validation as the need for responders and donors are still critical due to the continuous evacuation within the 14km vicinity of the volcano.

Current status


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