Planning and simulating

>> Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ike Señeres

As the saying goes, “it is better late than never”. To extend the wisdom of that expression, we could perhaps say that it is better to have a plan than not to have a plan at all. Having said that however, what is the use of having a plan if it is no good at all? To add to the saying that “there is only one way to find out”, there is another saying that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. All that said, I would say now that the only way to find out whether a plan is good or not is to test it. Better than that, we should be simulating a plan instead of just testing it, and the better the simulation would be to the real life scenarios, the better it would be.
Maybe it’s just a play of words, but to some extent it could be said that testing, practising, exercising and simulating are all just synonymous words. In that connection, I heard that SWAT units in some countries would simulate and practice every day with actual scenarios, as if the real life situations are already happening. I that that is a good idea, but what is even better than that is to supplement the actual simulations with virtual versions. For sure, these two options are not in conflict with each other and at best, they would even complement each other. One good thing about virtual simulations is that the actual data could be gathered and could eventually be analyzed.
I think that it will still take a long time before “Internet of Things” (IOT) will be mainstreamed into local governance, but it is a good time to start doing it now, rather than never ever doing it. Not unless we start doing it, it could take forever and sad to say, that forever might even translate into never. However, I want to make it clear that IOT is not an island by itself, because it is actually an archipelago of solutions that should work seamlessly with each other, as i fit is a naturally formed ecosystem. As I see it, it should be IOT that should gather the data that should go into Big Data. The latter would however be useless not unless it is analyzed, and that is where data analytics. In the end, the data should be processed into information that should go into a dashboard, being all part of business intelligence.
The Local Government Code (LGC) requires all Local Government Units (LGUs) to prepare and submit a Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) that shall be initiated by its Local Development Council (LDC) and approved by its Sanggunian. Towards that goal, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued guidelines as to how that should be done. According to the guidelines, the CDP and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) are distinct and separate, even if these two are intimately related. The guidelines say that in the CDP, “comprehensive” should mean that it covers all sectors, while in the CLUP; it should mean that it should cover all the land areas in the municipality. Be that as it may, I think that the common denominator between these two plans is the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
For some reason, the DILG has not prescribed the use of GIS software in the preparation of the CDP. 
Similarly, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) has made the use of GIS optional, meaning that LGUs can use it if they want to. As a result, some LGUs are just using paper mache to make relief maps that are not really very accurate, except that it presents a visual picture of how the terrain looks like. Some other LGUs have made flat maps on paper that are visually informative, but are not really clearly accurate too. More often than not, the LGUs that are using analog means would say that they could not afford the digital solutions provided by GIS, but that is not really true because there are open source versions that are available.
Maybe it is too complicated to explain it, but the same GIS software that is use for hazard mapping can also be used for tax mapping and so on and so forth, including of course traffic mapping. In reality, all of these mapping requirements are really just data sets that are just layers of one system. In other words, there is really no need to fund one GIS project after another. By the way, GIS software is great for simulations too. Perhaps the best use to justify the use of GIS in CDP is that all sectors could have their own layers in the overall system. That way, we will all know what goes where and why, and we could simulate the effects of addition or subtraction in each layer.
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