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Monday, 25 July 2016 18:06

PHIVOLCS now launches PHIVOLCS-LAVA (Local Active Volcanoes Archive), a web-accessible database that hosts PHIVOLCS’ volcanological data for Mayon Volcano with website address at http://wovodat.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph). PHIVOLCS-LAVA builds upon the global standard set down by WOVODat, the Worldwide Organization of Volcano Observatories Database. Developed by the Earth Observatory of Singapore, the WOVODat schema was adopted by PHIVOLCS in 2012 and customized by its Volcano Database and Management Section to fit local data requirements and processes. PHIVOLCS-LAVA is currently set to provide public access to the first tranche of its data and contribute this seamlessly to the WOVODat online database. PHIVOLCS works hand in hand with EOS as its pioneering partner in implementing the WOVODat schema in order to pave the way for the implementation of a global standard in volcano monitoring database development.


What is WOVOdat The World Organization of Volcano Observatories Database, or WOVOdat, is a database structure or schema designed for standardized digital storage and use of processed volcano monitoring data by all WOVO member organizations. It was conceptualized duringthe 2000 meeting of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) at Denpasar, Indonesia, which was attended by 40 participants from 18 countries and 17 WOVO Observatories. WOVODat was envisaged to provide a web-based global repository for volcano monitoring data that allows seamless access and sharing between WOVO observatories for improved forecasting and research of volcanic eruptions.It aims to support comparative analysis of unrest with other similar volcanoes around the world, enablingvolcanologists to understand magmatic and other processes occurring in restless volcanoes based on monitoring data and to formulate accurate forecasts based on outcomes of similar past unrest. The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) took on the bold challenge of developing the database schema under its WOVODat Project and collaborated with PHIVOLCS as its pioneer partner for the test implementation.


The backend database and core scripts of WOVODat was programmed by the EOS in Open Source MySQL and PHP, respectively, and were completed in 2012. The EOS provided PHIVOLCS with a stand-alone package in early 2012 that was immediately implemented for web-based reporting and archiving of volcano monitoring data within the PHIVOLCS Intranet. Simply called PHIVOLCS-LAVA, or the Local Active Volcanoes Archive, the adapted database strictly adheres to the WOVOdat schema for all volcano monitoring table fields and related data, particularly the hierarchical parent-to-child data structure Volcano→ Network→ Station→ Instrument→ Data.

PHIVOLCS’ Volcano Data Management (VDM) Team then embarked on a full customization of the WOVODat-based PHIVOLCS-LAVA, beginning with the incorporation of records of volcanological data that did not fit or exist in the standard table fields. This customization strictly observed the rule of adding fields (columns) to tables without editing or deleting the standard structure. Volcano catalog numbers or CAVWs assigned by the Smithsonian Institution-Global Volcanism Program(GVP) were adapted and new CAVW numbers were assigned to volcanoes not included in the GVP database. Conversion scripts for standardizing data to WOVODat formats were coded by the WOVODat Project for PHIVOLCS-LAVA to enable automated database population with the massive bulk of volcano monitoring records acquired through many years. Other packages adapted were visualization tools (beta version) and log-in security features.

The VDM Team further added new tools in the standalone package of WOVOdat to automate direct data input to the PHIVOLCS-LAVAservers in the Main Office from the remote Volcano Observatories, eliminating redundant data management tasks. Specifically, these include online forms for manually processed data such as volcanic earthquake phase data and counts, volcanic plume and crater glow observations, hydro-meteorological dataand volcanic SO2 flux measurements using campaign spectrometery. In 2015, the VDM further improved rapid data reporting by the Volcano Observatories by developing more robust online forms for volcano observation daily summaries (VODS), volcanic earthquake plottings and the Taal Main Crater Lake volcanic carbon dioxide flux, temperature and lake level parameters. Other online tools have already been laid out and are in the pipeline for development. The continued development of PHIVOLCS-LAVA has been institutionally integrated in PHIVOLCS’ Strategic Initiatives as a major project with year-on-year funding and deliverables.

As the database gets larger, more demands on bulk digital data management emerge to challenge the VDM Team to develop more tools. For example, a prototype that will directly push real-time monitoring data to PHIVOLCS-LAVAservers (e.g. Taal Main Crater Lake real-time CO2flux data with real-time data plotting) has just been initially tested with satisfying results. With this, the possibility of automatic intake of various volcano monitoring parameters from discrete remote data acquisition systems to the PHIVOLCS-LAVA servers can soon be realized.

PHIVOLCS Volcano Database History

From the early 1990’s, PHIVOLCS had been using spreadsheets of simple to more complex functionalities for storing, analysis and visual output of processed volcano observation data in aid of evaluating day-to-day volcano conditions and volcanic unrest. Commercial database software use was began in 2003, making for easy management, relational databasing and graphical display. In this way, the VDM team could systematize monitoring records of the six monitored active volcanoes: Bulusan, Hibok-Hibok, Kanlaon, Mayon, Pinatubo and Taal. However, rapid technological changes led to the trapping of data in storage media that eventually became obsolete and prone to deterioration or loss. More importantly, the advent of real-time high-resolution digital volcano observation systems in PHIVOLCS in 2009 and its steady increase in coverage to eight monitored active volcanoes (to include Parker and Matutum) led to an explosion in the volume of digital monitoring data, especially of broadband seismic waveform binary data. While various systems were put in place for the repository of these real-time high-resolutiondata, a more integrated and web-accesible database system for processed monitoring data that could be leveraged for data communication between PHIVOLCS’ Volcano Observatories and Main Office became imperative. With the collaboration of the EOS WOVODat Project, PHIVOLCS-LAVA has successfully answered this need, systematizing the country’s volcano monitoring records while ensuring the Philippines’ open data contribution and support to the worldwide volcanological community.