The Malaysian Centre for Remote Sensing (MACRES) is investing more than RM100 million in an overall systems upgrade and development exercise under an initiative to improve its operations. Its director Datuk Nik Nasruddin said the investment is part of the RM270 million allocated to the agency by the Government under the Eighth Malaysia Plan. The investment, he added, will cover the development of new systems and the upgrading of existing systems in order to support all the application being carried out by the agency as well as to meet end user requirements. Some of the operations at MACRES are gathering data via remote sensing for purposes like locating disaster prone areas, deriving geographical information system, creating image chips, satellite image mapping, military monitoring, precision farming and natural resources, and environment management. Nik Nasruddin said the computerisation exercise will also involve putting in place a data centre and high-end storage equipment, including network attached storage/storage area networks (NAS/SAN) to support Macres’ data storage, archiving and retrieval operations. He stresses that it was necessary for Macres to deploy the best technology due to the critical nature of the work that the agency does. The exercise is expected to be completed at the end of this year. Macres, has also invested RM100,000 in the building of its ground receiving station in Temerloh, Pahang. The station, one of the 20 of its kind in the world, will allow the country to receive real-time data and images that are transmitted directly from satellites orbiting past the station instead of having to rely on foreign sources, as they are sometimes delayed. The station is capable of receiving data from satellites like Landsat TM, Spot, Radarsat and NOAA. In a related development, Nik Nasruddin said Macres is working with the National Space Agency and other experts in the field to configure Malaysia’s own satellites.