Wed, 03 Aug 1994

LAPAN ready `to sell' its services to public

JAKARTA (JP): The National Space and Aviation Agency (LAPAN) is now making its remote sensing services available to the public at large, from private companies to research institutions.

The agency now operates three earth satellite stations in Jakarta, Pare-pare (South Sulawesi), and Biak (Irian Jaya), each one backed by data processing centers.

The agency can record and process various data which could be used for various purposes from weather forecasting, detecting forest fires, monitoring mountain activities to detecting environmental pollution, Mahdi Kartasasmita, head of the LAPAN's remote sensing section, told reporters yesterday.

The agency has also set up a data bank filing all products that have been processed, Mahdi said.

LAPAN is also working in cooperation with orbit satellite operators overseas to support its remote sensing facility, he said.

The prices for an image complete with its processed data range from Rp 800,000 to Rp 1.4 million, he said, LAPAN's price is quite competitive compared to those offered overseas.

He said the agency charges private companies and government agencies for using its remote sensing facility but research centers and universities will be served free of charge.

So far, LAPAN has three government departments, 24 companies, two universities and three research centers as its clients.

He said weather data collected by LAPAN's remote sensing satellites found that the severe dry spell now affecting most of Indonesia is likely to get worse.

Java is particularly critical, he said. "The drought is affecting the island's vegetation and fertility," he said.

Data acquired from the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, operated by the United States, showed that the green areas covered only 0.3 percent of Java's total surface. (rms)