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Redlands, California-In the aftermath of the Tsunami disaster in Asia, volunteers from ESRI (Thailand) Co. Ltd. went to the Phangnga province in Thailand to assist search teams and analyze the damage with the use of global positioning system (GPS), geographic information system (GIS), and remote sensing technology.
The command center was established at the Takua Pa district office in the Phangnga province under the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE).
The Takua Pa district is the most damaged area in Thailand. The most critical and urgent mission shortly after the disaster was to search for survivors and locate the dead in the area. Since geospatial information was not available, organizing a methodical search was very difficult. Therefore, the first task was to divide the search area into five manageable zones. Each zone was subdivided into one square-kilometer blocks for detailed searching purposes. Then, maps of each zone and their related blocks were generated and printed using ArcMap for the surveyors involved in the search. Each map included aerial orthophotos from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) or satellite images from Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) taken after the tsunami as well as vector data with local landmarks and the transportation layers from ArcData Thairoad. This allowed an easy visual reference for the surveyors working in the field. The surveyors were also trained to use GPS to collect the locations of bodies they discovered to help in future identification. At the end of each day, the minister held meetings with all zone leaders to review the progress of the day’s search and update the status map. The maps were not only distributed to the surveyors but also to the many other organizations working in the field such as the Rural Highway Department, TT&T, local governments, various volunteer groups, and so forth. To analyze the damage, comparative maps of the same areas were produced using the 2003 orthophotos from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
(MOAC) together with the http://mapserver.mnre.go.th/tsunami.
The next step is to restore the various ministries and agencies in the country, such as health, environment, natural resources, planning, tourism, socioeconomy, and so forth, so that Thailand can return to a more normal way of life as soon as possible. Geospatial information is one of the major components needed to make this complicated mission a success. The Royal Thai Survey Department has taken color aerial photos of all six provinces to produce the orthophotos needed by MONRE. Combined with the previously mentioned data sources, these orthophotos can provide the essential information needed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure as quickly as possible. # # # # # About ESRI (Thailand) ESRI (Thailand) Company, Limited was established in 1991. The parent company is CDG Group, which is a local IT conglomerate of affiliates established in 1968. ESRI (Thailand) is a regional distributor and systems integrator for www.esrith.com.
Founded in 1969, ESRI is the leading developer of GIS software with more than 300,000 clients worldwide. ESRI software is used in all 200 of the largest cities in the United States and in more than 60 percent of counties and municipalities nationwide. Headquartered in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international distributors in more than 90 countries, and more than 1,700 business partners. ESRI’s goal is to develop comprehensive tools that enable users to efficiently manage, use, and serve geographic information to make a difference in the world around them. ESRI also provides consulting, implementation, and technical support services. www.esri.com.
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