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Seminar: Satellite Remote-Sensing and Policy

Nan Visudchindaporn, '17 MS, Electrical Engineering
Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 9:30 am to 10:30 am
Page Hall
Room 130
1810 College Rd N
Columbus, OH 43210

“Utilizing NASA-Suomi NPP’s Day-Night Band to Assess Energy Consumption and investigate its Suitability as a Proxy for Poverty in Thailand”

In Thailand, 6.7 million people live within 20 percent of the national poverty line and are at risk of becoming impoverished if the economy slows. According to the latest economic model promoted by the Royal Thai Government, Thailand is trapped as a middle income nation. This means Thailand must overcome several economic challenges, such as the decrease of the economic growth rate and economic inequality. To have sustainable growth and development, it is key that the Royal Thai Government identifies poverty levels in order to create effective strategies and prevention plans during policy making.

Previously, most studies of poverty in Thailand were conducted by deriving poverty indicators from statistical data and surveys. These have inaccuracies and are costly in terms of time and budget due to the nature of door-to-door surveys.

This project, led by Nan Visudchindaporn, '17 MS, Electrical Engineering, introduced the use of night-time lights (NTL) from NASA’s Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite’s Day Night Band (Suomi NPP VIIRS DNB) from the years 2013 to 2015, to analyze poverty in Thailand. Studies measuring NTL emissions as a proxy for poverty indicators have been conducted in Africa and China. However, it has never been done in Thailand.

This project aimed to identify where poverty is occurring and what groups of the population are at risk through the use of satellite data. Additionally, the project explored how NTL intensity varies depending on a number of factors, such as seasons, distance from roads, distance from cities, and land-cover type. Monthly composite Suomi NPP VIIRS DNB products for 2013 to 2015 were used to create an enhanced poverty index. The final products of this project can serve as a basis for future poverty analysis research throughout surrounding Asian countries, and help inform and support poverty reduction, and aid poverty relief efforts. 

During her presentation, Nan will be providing an overview of her research, the usage of these remote sensing data and policy implications for economic development in Thailand.

Hosted by John M. Horack, Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy, in partnership with the Battelle Center for Science and Technology Policy, John Glenn College of Public Affairs.