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Geoinformatics Center to be an Institute-level Center

Geoinformatics Center (GIC), which was based at AIT’s School of Engineering and Technology (SET), has been enhanced into an Institute-level Center.

This was announced by the AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai to the AIT community on 16 June 2015.

The Geoinformatics Center (GIC) was established in 1997 by Prof. Shunji Murai, as a self-funded outreach center of AIT. The Center was set up in a new building in 1999, and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn inaugurated the new building.

Initially, the goal of the center was to enhance technical capabilities and demonstrate practical applications of space-based technologies through applied research, capacity-building, training and project services primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. During the initial phase, the Center focused on core spatial information systems, but over the years, the Center has moved towards real-world applications in disaster management, environment management, natural resources management, poverty and development, and urban planning addressing the growing demands in the region.

While Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been the main sponsor of the Center since its inception, organizations like ADPC, ADRC, ITC, Kokusai Kogyo, Nippon Koei, RESTEC, University of Tokyo, UNESCAP have also extended their support. Recently, the Center has also been able to attract funding from multilateral banks and the United Nations.

As an Institute-level Center, AIT GIC will continue to serve the region and beyond in capacity building, training and sponsored project services in Geoinformatics. Elevating GIC to Institute-level creates a structured and instrumental entity within AIT that could catalyze the use of Geoinformatics across the institute effectively and productively. It is aimed to become a Center of Excellence in Geoinformatics in the region and the Center targets to become a hub for the rapid response under the Sentinel Asia disaster support initiative of JAXA as well as becoming a UN affiliated center in the near future, Prof. Worsak announced.

The request to enhance GIC from school- to Institute-level was made by the GIC Director, Dr. Lal Samarakoon, with the endorsements of the Vice President for Resource Development and Dean of the School of Engineering & Technology. Dr. Lal has been instrumental in establishing GIC and its progressive success during the past 15 years, receiving due recognition from various clients including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

More details about GIC are available at this link: http://www.geoinfo.ait.ac.th/