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Thailand: Visually Beautiful and Digitally Amazing

Nitin Kumar Tripathi


Nitin Kumar Tripathi
Editor-in-Chief, Asian Journal of Geoinformatics
Space Technology Applications and Research
Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
[email protected]

Thailand has been using remote sensing and GIS technology for management of its natural resources. It has adopted remote sensing and GIS as a routine operational technique for forestry, agricultural, land development, telecom and various other sectors. Earlier it used visual interpretation of aerial photos and satellite data. Later it switched over to digital data processing. This article is an attempt to present a panorama of remote sensing / GIS education, research and projects.

Sawadee Khrup! (Hello). Thailand is a country of 80 million people with smiles all over their faces. It is a country full of natural resources with a sustainable blend of urbanization. Being in the tropical region it receives sumptuous rains resulting in greenery all around. It has fruits round the year: the King of Fruits – Durian and Queen of Fruits- Mangostein, dominate the fruit kingdom. It has a vast coastline with mangrove forests, shrimp farms, coconut and cashew nut and ofcourse world famous beaches and seafood. There are many things to see and experience. It is truly an amazing country. No doubt, the tourism industry of Thailand is a major contributor to the economic growth of the country.

Apart from the abundant blessings of Nature, it does face natural hazards: floods, cyclones, landslides, coastal erosion as any other part of the Earth do.

Thailand has around 95 percent literacy rate. Due to this people embrace technology rather quickly and get used to it in no time. Thailand has been using remote sensing and GIS technology for the management of its natural resources. It has adopted remote sensing and GIS as a routine operational technique for forestry, agricultural land development, telecom and various other sectors. Earlier it used visual interpretation of aerial photos and satellite data. Later on it switched over to digital data processing. This article is an attempt to present a panorama of remote sensing / GIS education, research and projects.

Thailand : Not only a tourist hub but also a remote sensing hub of Asia
It was with the initiative of Prof Manu Omakupt (Thailand) with strong support from Prof Shunji Murai (Japan) that the first Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS) was convened in Bangkok in 1980. This was strongly supported by Dr Suvit Vibulsrestha (Director, Geoinformatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Thailand). Prior to ACRS, Asian people did not have any forum to exchange their reserach ideas. This event was a landmark in the Asian remote sensing history. Later, this movement resulted into the formation of the Asian Association of Remote Sensing (AARS). In the last twenty years Thailand has hosted three ACRS. (Murai, 1999). Thailand was the first country to host ACRS and after 25 years is ready to host the Silver Jubilee ACRS again in Chiang Mai in 2004. I salute Thailand for its’ leadership in remote sensing activities for the Asian Region.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn had her educated in remote sensing from the Asian Institute of Technology. She will be the Guest of Honour in the 25th ACRS. Despite her busy schedule she still runs projects for land use/land cover mapping, crop suitability, environmental and agricultural development using remote sensing and GIS techniques. She has a research team working under her guidance (ACRS Memorial Book, 1999). Due to the interest of Royal Family and key secretaries, the remote sensing activities have always received great support and acceptance from administration in Thailand.