Sri Lanka’s :Potential to become a hub for satellite data
According to the Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT) Sri Lanka can benefit in a wide range of areas using satellite data and the sheer number of potential uses by which the national hub could be utilized for advancement of many sectors in Sri Lanka. ACCIMT has proposed to build a national hub and serves primarily to obtain Space Derived Remote Sensing data which are gathered through earth observation satellites.
The institution notes the level of improvement the technology has been able to impart particular in raising efficiency, effectiveness and on raising overall economic productivity in areas from agriculture, environment, wildlife, surveying and land, marine and coastal resource management, climate change and disaster management among other areas.
The establishment of the national hub was for some time a topic discussed and planned in detail. A point that was well trodden with the opening of the “Techno City” in the Homagama area. A land of over 10 acres has been allotted for the ACCIMT for the operation of satellite ground station. This was envisioned and incorporated under the Megapolis plan of the present administration of the country.
The technology although has been available in the world for some time has faced severe bottlenecks in Sri Lanka, particularly due to the lack of access to such data. Primary reason for lack of access has been the non-existence of a national facility that could receive and distribute the satellite data to the various bodies that are bound to benefit. Eng. Sanath Panawennage, Director General, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, Sri Lanka made a remark on this at the Science and Technology for Society Forum 2016 and expressed that the works are already underway to construct a national hub for the same purpose. Also, he made reference to a road map, formulated by the ACCIMT in which the national hub takes a central role.
ACCIMT has already negotiated with a number of international stakeholders on space technology as well as relevant agencies fulfilling a similar function, to obtain data free of charge or at a lower cost. The purpose of the collection is to provide these data to any and all public institution who will use the data for national development.
In terms of infrastructure facilities on offer, the area is adjacent to many universities and has the potential to form high speed connectivity as there is a Sri Lankan Telecom presence in the immediate area around the location. Access such as this is bound to grow in the coming years.
The facility if built has the potential to transform several key industries of Sri Lanka in to major economic growth factors. Especially in the marine and coastal resources. It also has the potential to effect positive change in the efficiency in a number of areas such as surveying, wildlife and forestry, disaster management. It is also likely to significantly boost the data driven aspects of newer businesses who will be able to adapt and embrace these data for the furtherance of their services and products.
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