Annual Report 2017 - Outreach

Connecting with communities across the globe

Applied Projects

Under the direction of Mr Andreas Schaffer, the Applied Projects Group integrates scientific research with public policy, working with communities, businesses, and government agencies to address issues related to geohazard risks.

In 2017, members of the group met with the Deputy Director General of the DDPM, the government disaster management agency in Bangkok, Thailand. Together they discussed Thailand’s tsunami safety and education efforts, focusing on the challenges of maintaining the complex network of tsunami early-warning towers along the Andaman coast. By bringing together stakeholders that had not previously met—including representatives of the hotel industry and government agencies—the group initiated a collaboration that secured the government’s pledge to repair nonfunctioning towers and created a partnership that will continue to benefit the region.

The Phuket government has also adopted the Applied Project Group’s new disaster-training plans for schools. In June 2017, more than 2,000 children from 20 schools attended earthquake and tsunami safety sessions offered by the group. Students learned how to stay safe in earthquakes and tsunamis, and some experienced a simulated magnitude-7.0 earthquake in the DDPM’s Earthquake Simulator Truck, driven from Bangkok to Phuket for the event. Plans are in place to expand this initiative to other schools.

This year, members of the Applied Projects Group continued their study in Uttarakhand state, in northern India. Earthquake hazard parameters developed by the group and funded by the World Bank were used to conduct a risk assessment for the area. The team has obtained and tested 40 soil-probe samples and has begun creating a digital elevation model from aerial imagery covering a protected and little-understood area of the state. A research manuscript with their findings is in process.

Community Engagement

The Community Engagement Office builds the identity of the Earth Observatory of Singapore within and beyond the scientific community, strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones through communication and collaboration.

Under the leadership of Community Engagement Director Mrs Sabrina Smith, the Office has been actively communicating science through various channels. One of these is through the institutional blog, where research findings and commentaries are publicised. Over the past year, the team worked with students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information and the Asian School of the Environment on blog posts highlighting the work of EOS researchers and exploring topics related to Earth science. The introduction of short videos featuring EOS research and the stories behind them is another way the Community Engagement Office shares the work of the Observatory’s scientists with a broader audience.

Partnerships are integral to the Office’s outreach plans. The team worked with colleagues from France and Indonesia to promote the second Marine Investigation of the Rupture Anatomy of the Great 2012 Earthquake (MIRAGE) expedition through a widely-publicised outreach event in Jakarta, Indonesia. They also organised the premiere of the documentary ‘Haze: It’s Complicated’, produced by the Art+Media team, reaching out to industry partners and research institutes.

Other activities the Community Engagement Office is involved in include participating in annual conferences, exhibitions, and panel discussions. On-site tours are another way of introducing the Observatory to visiting scientists and dignitaries. This year, guests included His Excellency Mr Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore, Professor Subra Suresh, President of Nanyang Technological University, and researchers from Haifa University and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

In the coming year, the Community Engagement Office plans to increase visibility, expanding communication and outreach across the scientific community and deepening relationships with local and global partners.

Philanthropy Office

The Office of Philanthropy supports the Earth Observatory of Singapore through advancement initiatives that provide financial investment, strengthen strategic alliances, and promote institutional priorities. The Philanthropy Office engages in meaningful discourse with individuals, foundations, corporations, and other constituents to foster mutually beneficial relationships, and operates in partnership with academic and professional communities to enhance the impact of giving.

Under the direction of Mr Andrew Krupa, the Philanthropy Office launched the ambitious agenda of creating a campaign to help ensure the Observatory’s financial security in perpetuity. To achieve funding goals, the Office implemented an integrated infrastructure to support its development efforts. This infrastructure includes a prospect-management system, staffing, multimedia collateral, and strategic protocols, all designed to incorporate best practices for institutional advancement. In addition, the Office created a grants administration unit to provide support for Observatory researchers and allow for the integration of additional investment streams.

In 2017, the Office of Philanthropy cultivated a number of significant funding opportunities that will provide impactful support for the Centre for Geohazard Observations, scholarships, geohazard research, and special projects. In addition, the Philanthropy Office was successful in launching new collaborations and partnerships from all sectors, which will enhance the continued advancement of the Observatory.

Through the growth of the Office of Philanthropy, the Earth Observatory of Singapore is well positioned to attain a sustainable, high-quality geohazards programme for generations to come.

Technical Office

The Technical Office manages all major field geophysical, geodetic, geochemical, and geospatial instruments and networks conducted by the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) throughout Asia. It oversees the Observatory’s data centre, where acquired instrumental data are pre-processed, archived, and disseminated to the scientific community, and works closely with governments and research agencies across the globe.

Under the supervision of Technical Director Dr Paramesh Banerjee, the Technical Office achieved two major targets this year, setting up a 30-station permanent broadband seismic network in Myanmar and carrying out airborne LIDAR surveys in Nepal and Myanmar.

Data gathered from the 30 new seismic stations — which include low-noise underground vaulted sensors and automated telemetry — is streamed in real-time to a central server in Nay Pyi Taw, and then relayed to the Observatory. Carried out in collaboration with Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology and the Myanmar Earthquake Committee in Yangon, the project took more than 18 months to complete.

These 30 new stations, added to the existing five USGS sites, form the backbone of the Myanmar Seismological Network. In addition to installing these seismic stations, the team also added nine new permanent GPS stations to the existing eight operating in Myanmar, further enhancing the network’s capabilities.

The airborne LIDAR studies mapped geomorphological signatures of past earthquakes along the Himalayan frontal thrust in Nepal and the Sagaing Fault in Myanmar. Using data collected from an area of 2,100 square kilometres, the team produced a digital-terrain model with decimetre-level resolution.

In 2017, the Technical office continued its work of maintaining seismic and GPS networks in the Mayon volcano in the Philippines, as well as at the Gede, Salak, and Marapi volcanoes in Indonesia, where the team installed a new infrasound network array.

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