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Thailand introduces GIS map to prevent forest encroachment

Thailand: Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) introduced ‘DSI Map’ for wider use among public agencies and citizens across the country to fight against forest encroachment and avoid land conflict in the country.

Developed by Map and Geo-Informatics Operation Centre under the DSI’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and Environment Crime, DSI Map is an online mapping portal created based on data provided by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

“Anyone with an access to internet can use and benefit from the map data provided on DSI Map. They only need to have GPS location data and search it on the programme,” said Pol Lt Col Prawut Wongseenin, Director Bureau of Consumer Protection and Environment Crime, the DSI.

He also added that the mapping data from the DSI Map will also come with relevant basic information attached to that plot of land such as reserved forest area notification.

“This will help prevent forest encroachment and put an end to land conflict over the land owned by citizens that is close to the conserved area,” he said.

The previous version of DSI Map was a closed programme used by the DSI only before it decided to further develop the programme into a more user friendly and make it accessible freely over internet for public and local government to use. “People can now search for the area information easily and fast as well as receiving accurate and official information related to the land to avoid conflict,” he added.

Forest encroachment is a major problem Thailand has been confronting. One of the core causes of the problem derived from unclear boundaries between the conservation forest and private owned area. To prove the right over the area takes long time and complicated process in which this inefficiency has put a lot of injustice to many cases at the court, Pol Lt Col Wongseenin explained.

“This programme together with the basic law on conservative forest will prevent citizen to encroach into the preserved forest as well as preventing illegal commercial activities to happen over prohibited area. At the same time, it will empower people to keep an eye on inappropriate activities conducted by government officers,” he stated.

The DSI planned to promote the wider use of DSI Map to local authorities and citizens in the relevant areas, and has provided series of training to officers in Ministry of Justice, local leaders, and citizens in the North East, and the South.

Source: FutureGov