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American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Year: 2006  |  Volume: 2  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 146 - 153

A Near Real-time Early Warning System on Erosion Hazards

Faisal Hj. Ali and Tew Kia Hui    

Abstract: With many incidences of landslides, mudslides and erosion occurrences lately, especially in the highlands in Malaysia, properties were damaged and lives were lost. Seeing the need of resolving and minimizing such untoward incidences, a study has been embarked on developing a near real-time early warning system on erosion hazards so as to provide an early warning to the public, whenever there are signs and probable occurrence of such incidences. Consequently, a case study on Cameron Highlands Catchment was carried out, which involved a detailed baseline database of the study area to be set up first. The highland catchment is considered an environmentally sensitive area where many land development for various activities such as agriculture, agro-tourism, property development and road-widening projects, had already been carried out and some are still on going as to-date. To develop the baseline database, acquisition of the latest Structure Plan, Satellite Imagery, topographical and rainfall information of the catchment area were carried out. Once this is done, real-time rainfall information would be adopted to develop the early warning system. This could be done by using solar-powered rain sensors, which would be triggered based on the rainfall amount and intensity. A SIM-card based GPRS transmitter, which is attached to the "rain sensing and transmission unit" would then send out e-mails at every minute interval, so that the data could be transferred to a receiving unit. At this point, the e-mail is read and data is processed within the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) using an automated keyboard simulation programme. The final processed values would then be set against the threshold values, which will trigger an early warning if any of the values exceeds the threshold limits. Therefore, it is hoped that the application of this new locally developed system, which has been trademarked under the name EWARNSTM (Early Warning And Risk Navigation Systems), would be beneficial to the local authorities, highway operators and the public in general in providing an early warning especially during periods of heavy rainfall, which could possibly trigger serious soil erosion occurrences that may induce landslides.

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