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4.01.02 The Use of GIS In ORMOC City Ormoc City in the north-western part of Leyte is the first non-provincial Capital City of the Philippines proclaimed in September 4, 1947. It is a coastal city with Ormoc Bay on the west side while the plains of the valley runs from the north to the south where numerous rivers and streams traverse these plains. As of 2004, population count was 172,159 distributed in 110 barangays having a total land area of 464.3 square kilometers. City officials believe that this total number of barangays in the city is quite a big number in terms of territorial divisions as compared to the small population count in many of the barangays.

residential, commercial, institutional areas, functional open spaces and roads comprise 5.75% while special uses for industrial purposes make up 5.22% of the total land area. The local government of Ormoc is quite keen on combining the use of ICT and GIS in propelling the growth of the City particularly in building critical infrastructures and modernization of utilities and facilities. How GIS Got Started: It was through the initiative of former Mayor now Congressman Eufrocino Codilla Sr. that GIS use got started in Ormoc. GIS was first utilized for land use plan preparation when in 1998, the city acquired an aerial photo with MapInfo. Along with the introduction of this new technology came the immediate need to train staff from various local government offices on the use of GIS. The Assessors Office, the Planning and Development Office and the Engineering Office made up the first batch that received training. Thus, since 1998, there have been many infrastructures built and many roads were opened or widened as housing projects were built through the use of GIS technology.

There are notably several resettlement areas especially for those affected by the November 1991 flash flood tragedy that are located in 9 barangays distributed in 18.4 hectares. Land use and classification in the city is most dominant for agricultural purposes at 26,298.29 hectares or 56.64% of the total land area. This is followed by 32.38% forest areas. Built-up uses for

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Current Mayor Eric Codilla and City Planning Development Officer Raoul Cam cited the many uses of GIS for Ormoc since 1998 through the last 8 years up till the present. They believe that GIS is useful in the following: Production of maps, information sheets and folders; Updating the comprehensive land use plan which provides the details of a particular area; Production of digitized Barangay maps based on tax mapping; Production of colour images and effective visualization which makes it a good and well appreciated marketing tool; Serving as an educational material and guideline for GIS application at the municipal and barangay levels, since with GIS, officials are able to get actual measurements, get the descriptions and compute distance in the area; Helping locate watershed areas, forest covers and agricultural lands, which is most helpful since the City is pressing for efficiency in food production. It can analyse and plot the actual position of ricefields and sugarcane

plantations using colour differentiations and distinctions; Resolving boundary disputes between private properties of residents and in determining actual land use, such as in the case of the boundary dispute between Ormoc City and the Municipality of Kananga, or in the sharing of among the 6 barangays in Ormoc of the Php 40M revenue they receive from PNOC annually; Time saving, since it would take months to manually prepare ordinary maps while it takes only two days to accomplish this in GIS; Meeting the objective of efficient tax collection; Identifying points with the use of orthophotomosaic (aerial) images, where roads may be built to traverse agricultural lands or see which improvements may be done in the efforts to expand the congested city business center and; Preparing the Master Development Plan and in laying the groundwork for development such as, identifying the best location to build a bridge or the best possible location to build a four lane road with an island, or where to put the drainage system.

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two fulltime staff running the day to day operation. The GIS personnel agree that a high resolution image is more useful in urban areas. In agricultural areas, they believe that GIS could promote the rice enhancement program of the local government where production has increased from an average of 66 cavans to 140 cavans within the 1,000 hectares coverage of the program. Diversification of agricultural production is also an important thrust where use of GIS may be applied. Lately, the city government is seriously looking at the possibility of utilizing Lake Danao to supply water. City Engineer Juliana Flores reckons that GIS can help in the visualization of this plan and will be useful in the preparation of a feasibility study.

Current GIS Applications: The city is wilful in developing the use of computer technology for local government processes. For example, a website for the city has been constructed and the computerization of in-house systems is near completion for business permits, tax assessment system, water system and procurement systems. Todays GIS application emphasizes the importance of sharing data and technology within the local government offices through various networking efforts. The emphasis is on building-up data on infrastructure, utilization, and other services and the plan is to optimize the best possible results of GIS utilization in the City.

Challenges Ahead: In the future, city officials consider using GIS as a counter-insurgency tool such that the Army can even determine the terrain and detect possible encounters between the military and insurgents. They are concerned that the aerial photos are already eight years old and need upgrading. They think that satellite images are a much cheaper

The GIS center holds office at the Planning and Development Office with

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choice but according to GIS specialists, it is hard to take pictures of the ground due to the terrain in the archipelago that accounts for the presence of clouds. In terms of technology to be used, the best resolution they could think so far is the 1:10,000 resolution that would be most useful in areas where development is fast and hence, updating is needed on a more periodic basis. But the mayor noted that since GIS is quite expensive at P150,000 per license, the cheaper GIS technology must be always be considered. Undoubtedly, Ormoc officials are well aware that the advantages of GIS is beyond compare and this is where training as an important aspect of sustainability in GIS utilization must be made a part of the package. They cited other areas where the community is left not knowing how to use the system because the consultants who left soon after the project completion, were not able to transfer basic skills in the community. Skills training and staff development in GIS must be made a continuing effort and part of the agenda of the City government. By and large, GIS application in Ormoc City is one that is prime for customization to suit localized community requirements. Combined with strong ICT practice, the city has gained a boost in its planned economic edge. By addressing the challenges ahead, GIS is not only deemed as the better option for problems that are geographic in nature, it may just be the solution to many linked and long drawnout woes and difficulties. After all, it is but fitting to emphasize that the measure of success for the utilization of any technology, is the quality of life that the target residents may hopefully attain.

Although not easily quantifiable, it is one that goes beyond systems and implementation processes.

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