New mapping database to be set up
Bt140-bn plan for standard maps for all agencies to avoid confusionA mapping database using a 1:4,000 scale will be made available in the next five years in a move to standardise usage as well as help prepare for long-term planning and development in the country, Deputy Premier Plodprasop Suraswadi said yesterday.
The GPS system would be useful when implementing some projects under the Bt350-billion water-management scheme and the Bt2.2 trillion strategy for large-scale infrastructure, he said, in addition to other projects such as setting out farming zones or forest and land management.
Many government agencies have used a variety of maps with different scales, which has proved problematic when data is shared. For instance, a 1:250,000 ratio is used to designate areas as national parks, while the Land Department uses a 1:40,000 scale for land management, causing confusion over several issues as both agencies have to work together closely.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand uses a 1:2,500 standard, while most other agencies rely on a 1:50,000 scale. The Metropolitan Electricity Authority is the only agency that uses the 1:4,000 scale for reference when distributing electricity bills in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces.
Plodprasob said the mapping scheme would cost around Bt140 billion. But it would be precise and an important strategy in long-term developments and policy-making. It would boost investor confidence, while the Kingdom was becoming a high-income nation from a moderate-income one.
Aerial photographs, satellite images and modern mapping technology assisted by the global positioning system (GPS) will be incorporated into the database to make mapping and re-designation very accurate.
On farmland zoning, he said, enhanced images could show which plots are being used to grow crops. The system would also allow high-resolution photographs that would help the government work out exactly what areas were damaged by flooding and who needs to be compensated.
Half of the budget to set up the communal database would come from the Bt350 billion for water management, while the remaining Bt70 billion will be provided by the government, Plodprasob said. The project's terms of reference should be ready shortly, possibly by next week, he added.
A new agency will possibly be set up to run this new project.
At the moment, all mapping reference operations are run by Thailand Spatial Data Infrastructure (TSDI), which falls under the jurisdiction of the Geo-Infomatics and Space Technology Development Agency.