First disaster alert systems ready for Patong, Thailand

First disaster alert systems ready for Patong, Thailand


The first sites to broadcast warnings in the event of an emergency at Patong beach, Phuket will be operational this month as part of a national disaster early warning system, according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda).

These will become the first of between 40 and 50 locations in six provinces facing the Andaman Sea with loudspeakers to broadcast information in the event of a natural disaster such as a tsunami wave.

Gistda’s sub-committee for the disaster warning system adapted data from Landsat and IKONOS satellite images and combined this with a GIS to determine appropriate locations for these broadcast sites. The first three to be operational are at the Sea View Hotel, at Patong Municipality and at the Sunset Hotel, Gistda’s Geo-Informatics Centre director Dr Surachai Ratanasermpong said.

The distance between each location is around three kilometres, while the coverage area of each extends for a distance of some 1.8 kilometres.

Gistda assistant senior engineer Dr Pakorn Apaphant said the remaining 40-50 locations were expected to be ready within six months. “We need to analyse and survey feedback before concluding how many locations we should have and where they should be,” he said. The Gistda is responsible for satellite image data and works with the Meteorological, Royal Irrigation, Mineral Resource and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation departments.

Dr Surachai added that in some two years time, Thailand would be able to exploit data from the Thailand Earth Observation Satellite (THEOS), Thailand’s first earth observation satellite to be launched in 2007 at a cost of some 6.4 billion baht.