Ministry launches environmental hub

Ministry launches environmental hub

Centre will facilitate big data analytics

The data captured includes records of particulate matter (PM), temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind speed.
The data captured includes records of particulate matter (PM), temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind speed.

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry has launched the National Environment Information Centre to support open databases for environmental information to allow for analysis and further development.

The data includes records of particulate matter (PM), temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind speed.

The centre is operated by National Telecom (NT) on a budget from the Digital Economy and Society Development Fund (DE Fund). It is located at NT Tower in Bang Rak district.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said the centre will facilitate big data analytics under support of new integrated technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT), sensor system, cloud storage as well as NT's LoRaWAN network.

He said there are 8,000 air quality monitoring stations nationwide, which have been installed since last year. They cover 900 districts across the country.

The areas where the stations are located have high population density or have an impact and risk of being affected by small dust problems, he said.

All the stations can collect various data, such as PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 dust, temperature, humidity, air pressure, as well as wind speed and directions.

The station project is cooperating with various government agencies, such as the interior, education and public health ministries, the National Office of Buddhism, the Royal Thai Police and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

"Air quality and climate data is collected every five minutes and transmitted through NT's LoRaWAN network into big data for storage and analysis," Mr Chaiwut said.

The ministry has also developed the RGuard mobile app, which can notify air quality information to the public. It can be downloaded via the App Store for iOS system and Play Store for Android system.

Open data for dust monitoring and RGuard are now under the first phase of implementation. Further development is needed to supply more complicated and broader range of information.

NT acting president Gp Capt Somsak Khaosuwan said 200 million baht from the DE Fund has been used to develop the centre. Some 20 staff work at the centre, around half of them outsourced.

"Air pollution is a critical pain point for people but there are few data resources which are reliable or contain official information," said Gp Capt Somsak.

When the centre stores enough data, it can support effective analysis and prediction of PM problems zone by zone. The development of the centre is the DES Ministry's model project to foster a big database which can be leveraged by educational institutions or private companies.

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