Full text: Sharing and cooperation in geo-information technology

International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Vol. XXXII, Part 6. Bandung-lndonesia 1999 
Shunji Murai, Lai Samarakoon and Kiyoshi Honda 
Space Technology Applications and Research (STAR)Program 
School of Environment, Resources and Development 
Asian Institute of Technology 
P.O. Box 4 Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand 
E-mail: murai@ait.ac.th 
STAR Program, AIT has reformed and restructured the goals as well as curricula to meet requirements and demands in computer, 
space and multi-media age. STAR Program has been reorganized with three components of education, training and research that feed 
back each other in not only academic development but also financial infrastructure. This paper will introduce the organization and 
several successful results due to the restructuring. 
Since Earth Summit that was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 
with the new concept of sustainable development, and Beijing 
Declaration was announced at Ministerial Conference of 
UN/ESCAP on Space Technologies for Environmentally Sound 
and Sustainable Development held in Beijing, China in 
September 1994, space technology including remote sensing, 
GIS, GPS, space telecommunication etc. has become a key 
word of tool for environment and natural resources management 
in Asia and Pacific. 
In this regard, a new name of STAR Program replaced the 
former name of Natural Resources Program at AIT in 1995 with 
a focus on. space technology rather than application-oriented 
program. Taking into account the maximum use of benefit as 
graduate school of AIT, three components of education, training 
and research have been interactively organized for mutual 
benefit (see Figure 1). 
Education for master and doctoral courses at STAR Program is 
consisted of two fields of study; Remote Sensing and 
Geographic Information Systems (RS&GIS) and Computer 
Mapping Technology. 
STAR Program is fully equiped with PCs and UNIX stations as 
well as software for high quality computer laboratory sessions. 
The curricula have been also restructured with a target on 
computer-assisted teaching. Not only techniques to use the 
existing software but also capability of software development 
are now being strengthened in the courses. 
Short-term training courses with a specific theme will be a big 
contribution to scientists and engineers in Asia and Pacific who 
had not chance to study modern and advanced technology in 
geoinformatics. STAR Program established GIS Application 
Center (GAC) with financial support of UNEP EAP-AP in 
1995.Since then GAC has conducted not only fundamental 
courses on remote sensing and/or GIS, but also advanced 
courses with a specific theme such as watershed management, 
flood mitigation, land use planning etc. with UNIX 
Recognizing that research is very poor and technical support to 
researchers is a key issue in developing countries, 
STAR Program has jointly established Asian Center for 
Research on Remote Sensing (ACRoRS) in 1997 with Asian 
Association on Remote Sensing (AARS) (see Figure 2). 
ACRoRS will be able to provide researchers with NOAA 
AVHRR and Japanese Satellite Data such as JERS-1 OPS/SAR 
at inexpensive rate. 
1. Strategic Goals of STAR Program 
After almost five year argument about the goals in consideration 
of requirements, demands and geographic location of AIT, 
STAR Program reached these resolutions as follows. 
(1) STAR Program should focus on technology oriented courses 
rather than 
application oriented ones. There are two reasons behind this 
goal. One is that a limited number of faculty cannot cover all 
application fields such as tropical forest, landuse planning, land 
degradation, tropical coastal zones, disaster management, 
watershed management etc. The second reason is that high 
quality graduate students can survive in any application field, if 
they have a strong technical background. 
(2) However STAR program should develop applicability of the 
technology in the Master and Doctor thesis. Because STAR 
program is a graduate school with only Master and Doctor 
courses, the students have already engineering or scientific 
background in a specific field. Therefore, it is not very difficult 
for these students to apply the high level technology to their 
(3) STAR Program should encourage more research and 
publications of journal papers. This is a philosophy behind this

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