Upgrading of GIC to an Institute-level Center
With great pleasure, we would like to announce the upgrading of the Geoinformatics Center (GIC) to an Institute-wide center of Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The President of AIT, Professor Worsak Kanok Nukulchai officially made this announcement on 16th June 2015.
The Geoinformatics Center (GIC) was established in 1997 by Professor Shunji Murai, as a self-funded outreach center of AIT. 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. The Center was set up in a new building in 1999, and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn inaugurated the new building.
During the initial phase, the Center was focused on core spatial information systems and over the years, the Center has adopted a more all-encompassing focus by working towards real-world applications in areas that include disaster management, environment management, natural resources management, poverty & development, and urban planning addressing the growing demands in the region.
There is a tremendous growth within the field of Geoinformatics in recent years and the demand for sector-specific applications and solutions is increasing. While the Geoinformatics sector shows an exponential growth, the needs are diverging from mere technology-oriented research and development of user-specific real-world applications. Accordingly, the Center is collaborating for specific support from the relevant fields-of-study across the Schools of the Institute and recognizes the support of many faculty/staff members of the Institute for the continuous growth and the successes of the center. While the 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 for mutual benefits.
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.