MANILA, Philippines - Putting together the country’s most comprehensive one-stop shop online for disaster and emergency preparedness, GMA Network launched last Friday the “IM Ready” public safety portal in partnership with Google, leading traffic navigation app Waze, and key Philippine government agencies.
For the first time ever, a single online solution (www.imready.ph) provides real-time updates on weather, flooding, geo-hazards, traffic situations, class suspensions, gas pump prices, and soon, even commute route options, metro train services and fare rates.
The IM Ready portal is the product of GMA Network’s similarly named awareness campaign that started in October 2010 about a year after the devastation wrought by Typhoon Ondoy.
Marissa Flores, GMA Network senior vice president for news and public affairs, said, “Calamities such as Ondoy, Yolanda, and the (northeast monsoon) floods have all taught us painful lessons about the need to prepare. We hope Filipinos will embrace the IM Ready portal as a valuable public safety information tool toward what GMA has been advocating over the years — Magplano para sigurado.”
The portal consolidates the breadth of information from its government partners, namely the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Metro Rail Transit Authority (MRTA), Philippine National Railways (PNR), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Partnering with DOST also paved the way for collaboration with its weather forecasting arms, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and Project NOAH.
On the technology side, the IM Ready portal gave birth to the partnership agreement between GMA Network and Waze — the world’s largest social community-based traffic and navigation app. Google acquired Waze last year for an estimated $1 billion.
Visitors of the IM Ready portal will be able to compare information reported by both the MMDA and Waze users who share real-time traffic and road information.
The portal is also powered by The Weather Co., a global leader in weather forecasting services for media companies. GMA Weather makes use of this infrastructure to deliver interactive reports and highlight the extent of a weather disturbance’s potential impact on a specific location.
Heading the IM Ready Public Service Group is climate change expert Dr. Carlos Primo David, a faculty member of National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) of the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
“The project team is thrilled with the possibilities that the latest technologies and the partnerships have allowed us. We have made a lot of information available already, but we know that we are just scratching the surface. Eventually we want to strengthen our information base to more provinces, especially those which are most at risk to natural calamities,” David said.
Mobile versions of the IM Ready portal for Apple iOS and Android will be made available in the coming months.
Meanwhile, David enjoined netizens to be part of the IM Ready online community through Facebook (Facebook.com/imreadyph), Twitter (twitter.com/imreadyph), Instagram (@imreadyph), and the official IM Ready Waze Group through the downloadable Waze mobile app.