China’s SASMAC advances regional cooperation on Earth observations
In response to increasing demand for Earth observation and geospatial information technology to assist with sustainable development efforts worldwide, and in-line with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Satellite Surveying and Mapping Application Center (SASMAC) of China’s National Administration of Surveying Mapping and Geo-information (NASG) is dedicated to improving global and regional cooperation on Earth observation and civilian-oriented applications for public benefits. In accordance with GEO's engagement priorities, SASMAC has been involved in the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' (CHARTER) as the China Executive Secretariat and the space resource provider. When the China National Space Administration chaired CHARTER in 2014, SASMAC also took on the role of Emergency On-Call Officer (ECO). From the experience with CHARTER, SASMAC fully understands how in-time sharing of high resolution Earth observations can make a difference for disaster response, recovery and mitigation.
SASMAC is currently working to establish an application system, policies and specifications for China’s ZY-3 satellite. Launched in January 2012, ZY-3 is China’s first domestic civilian high resolution stereo surveying and mapping satellite, and together with ZY3-02 (launched in May 2016) it forms a Dual Satellite Network. A Cloud Service Platform of ZY-3 Satellite Images provides management and distribution services, as well as real-time push services for users, that facilitate sharing and access to the latest images from high-resolution Chinese satellites. The platform was built as a virtual service center, which can be used in the fields of surveying, mapping and geo-information, as well as other industries at home and abroad. Satellite data and related services are available for free to public non-profit organizations and domestic educational institutions through the cloud platform, while fees apply for commercial and private access.
Within the framework of GEO, SASMAC is working to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the sharing and application of ZY-3 data, as a means to take advantage of complementarities and to improve the quality and availability of Earth Observation data and derived information. SASMAC’s international cooperation has included partnerships with Thailand (GISTDA), the United Kingdom (University of Nottingham) and Austria (University of Vienna). The scope of future international collaboration may include joint calibration of Earth observation data and geospatial information products, geospatial information extraction and application, and the establishment of a local node of the ZY-3 satellite image cloud service platform. The overall objective of this collaboration will be to promote the application of geospatial information in urban planning, environmental management, and beyond.