Remote Sensing Technology
Center of Japan
RESTEC, established in 1975, conducts basic and general research development related to remote sensing. In this candid interview RESTEC President Hiroyuki Osawa shares his views about its evolution as an acclaimed research institution.
Presently the situation of remote sensing in Japan has been changing from research phase to practical phase. However, not all users of satellite image are specialists of remote sensing. Using satellite image is not an objective for many users, they need information extrapolated from the satellite image.
Therefore, RESTEC has focused on development of products or systems, which can be used easily by workers. The Disaster Damaged Area Automatic Determination System was developed by RESTEC through a contract with the Cabinet Office of Japanese Government is a case in point. When disaster occurs, this system will automatically order the satellite data providers to observe the area where a disaster occurred. At the same time, it will automatically order the archived satellite images of that area. With this timely system, the users can observe and identify the afflicted area and acquire the archived images.
In addition, this system will also automate a process of satellite image after image acquisition. It is difficult for the users who don’t have expertise in remote sensing to even read a satellite image by PC. For our system, all that is needed is just to put a data CD-ROM (DVD-ROM) in the drive. Then, the system will interpret the format of a satellite image, through the CD-ROM, and implement a geometric correction. After that, the system will display a result of damaged area examination by an adequate algorithm. In this way, the users can unconsciously, but certainly obtain information on the afflicted areas picked out from the satellite images in short time.
The field of remote sensing in Japan is still developing and it holds great potential to be evolved. Therefore, I think RESTEC and the other organisations related to GIS or remote sensing have to cooperate with each other more than ever to promote remote sensing. RESTEC is taking the opportunity of the launch of the Advanced Land Observing Satellite ‘ALOS’, by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to initiate some concrete actions by instigating the establishment of ALOS data utilisation council. The council will promote and spread satellite data utilisation by coordinating with the industry, academia, and government. The objectives of the council provide a contribution to the national welfare through public service, and also contribution to the promotion of satellite data industry, and to the creation, extension and development of this new market. Comprehensive activities under the cooperative structure such as the above mentioned council are needed for progressing in the field of remote sensing rather than individual activity by each organisation. RESTEC will play a central role in such a cooperative structure.