Personal Impressions from the Tour in DOST-ASTI and GMA Network

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Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) is based at the center of University of the Philippines-Diliman Campus. DOST-ASTI is tasked to do the research and improvement of the information and communications technology in the country. DOST-ASTI has local and international partners in order for continuous development of its programs.

DOST-ASTI is focuses on, but not limited to, the following areas. Their top priority is research and development on microelectronics and information and communication technology. With these research and development engineers, DOST-ASTI shall be updated or more so advanced, when it comes to the current trends in the field of microelectronics and information and communication technology. DOST-ASTI also covers the field of space technology and technology transfer. DATOS is a remote sensing and Data Science feature of DOST-ASTI to disseminate information during times of calamity. DATOS is related to the DICT feature of mobile satellite and the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) alarms during times of calamity or danger.

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During our tour at the DOST-ASTI facility, we went to their control room. The Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation center or called PEDRO. Inside the PEDRO control room, the engineers let us view the outputs and discussed various details. First the satellites, Philippines has 2 satellite of its own, called DIWATA 1 and DIWATA 2. In PEDRO, we saw the location of the satellite and its orbitals. Also, the Philippines is connected to 2 other neighboring Korean satellites. In PEDRO, the engineer said that they have access to view 250 more or less satellites. These satellites produce real time images. A technology severely needed especially in times of disaster. PEDRO used these satellites for government various government projects. Remember the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project? A satellite was used to see its progress. Deforestation was monitored and somehow solved with the help of a satellite. A satellite is being used for security purposes on maritime and aerial security of our territories. PEDRO also won an award in partnership with the Department of Audit. This is project COARE or Computing and Archiving Research Environment. They used a satellite to monitor the construction of a bridge of a certain province. This helped monitor if corruption or material misuse is done. They used satellite technology for monitoring a government project and auditing it.

After our visit in the control room, we went upstairs to see various satellite receivers. Upstairs we saw a large radome (a radome is a weatherproof construction to protect the satellite antenna of any calamities). This radome is built of fiber glass. We went inside the radome and saw the antenna that was being protected. Inside the radome is hot, but the antennas were kept safe and secured. On the rooftop we saw various antennas that are used for other projects of DOST ASTI.

GMA-7 is a TV network that operates on Channel 7 (very high frequency, analog broadcasting) and Channel 15 (ultra high frequency, digital broadcast). It is located on Quezon City.

During our tour in the network we we’re briefed first. After the briefing we went to the control room of GMA Network. We saw the broadcast of GMA and other broadcasting services connected to GMA. We saw the GMA-7 broadcast (during our tour it is Eat Bulaga, a popular noon time show), the control of GMA-7 has a large tv screen dedicated to GMA-7 broadcasting only. In a different control room, I saw the GMA News TV current broadcasting. GMA also has various local channels nationwide. In another control room, what I saw was the GMA Pinoy TV an international broadcasting of GMA-7. Also, GMA Life TV and GMA News International was being transmitted as well. While on the broadcasting control room, I noticed that the floors are removable, it contains the wires for the different control rooms. We moved to studios. The first studio we went was a news room. The news room was built with high class and modern cameras. Lighting was on point too. Then we proceeded to the GMA old building, a building set to be demolished soon. This building contains the AM and FM stations of GMA. The AM station of GMA is Super Radyo DZBB which operates on 594 kilohertz (KHz) and operates on Metro Manila. Due to limited capacity of the AM room and the sensitivity of AM station we were not allowed to go inside. But we went inside the booth of their FM Station. GMA has an FM station called Barangay LS. It operates at 97.1 megahertz (MHz) here at metro manila. I have an experience in some FM radio stations before and I can say that the FM station of GMA needs improvement. The transmitter is not up to date.

After the tour on the radio stations, we proceeded to the studio. They say it is the best studio in the Philippines. As I see it, it really is a well-funded and well-built studio. No echoes because the wall has sandwiched sound absorbers and the studio is well lit and the technology of the cameras are world class. Then we proceeded to watch a taping of a TV show.

The tour on DOST-ASTI is better compared to the tour in GMA-7 for various reasons. The tour in DOST-ASTI is very educational and very interactive. I, personally, learned a lot in the DOST ASTI tour, the concepts of Satellite based images that were taught inside the room was there and I learned a lot from it. Meanwhile, the tour in GMA-7 was quite boring. I was hoping to see the transmitters and receivers but what I saw was an artist who was trying to cook bacon. I wish that I could see Kim Domingo though. But kidding aside for future fieldtrips, I hope that if the field trip will be on a TV station, they should let them go to the rooftop or on the transmission area itself.

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