IOCCG Training course:
Applications of Marine Remote Sensing

November 2-12, 1999
Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
Klong Luang, Bangkok, Thailand

group photo

The third IOCCG training course, after many months of hard work on several continents, took place at the Asian Institute of Technology, at Klong Luang, just north of Bangkok, Thailand, from November 2nd to the 12th, 1999. One of the mandates of the IOCCG is to be involved with training courses that increase the user base of ocean-colour data throughout the world. 

The Applications of Marine Remote Sensing Training Course was sponsored principally by NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan), with additional sponsorship provided by the IOCCG, the IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) and JRC (Joint Research Council of the European Commission). NASDA and JRC have strong existing ties with the AIT and with South East Asia. The IOC is actively involved in developing, promoting and facilitating international oceanographic research programmes, and in education and training programmes for observations of the ocean and its coastal zone. The course attracted over eighty applicants from around the world. Thirty students from the South East Asian region were chosen. The participants were drawn from twelve countries - Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam - and included postdoctorals, PhD students, university lecturers and industry technologists.

 Likewise, the list of expert lecturers assembled from around the world (Canada, EU, Japan, the UK and USA) represented a number of disciplines from within the field of remote sensing.

 The course began on an informal note at the Asia Airport Hotel in Rangsit, where the staff and students met to launch the course. Introductory speeches welcoming the students were made by Tasuku Tanaka (NASDA), Josef Aschbacher (JRC) and Venetia Stuart (IOCCG).

 The first day of lectures at AIT took place in the AIT Center, where all of the morning lectures were to take place. The lecturers and students travelled the short distance from the hotel to the AIT by bus, arriving in ample time to prepare for the sessions. The morning consisted of introductory lectures on satellite oceanography and remote sensing, with the afternoon dedicated to water optics. The students, dedicated and intense, were initially relatively quiet, however they did ask relevant questions when appropriate throughout the sessions.

 The following day saw the inauguration of the training course by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. With the AIT Center suitably decorated in purple and gold, and with flowers everywhere, the students and lecturers were given a 5 a.m. early morning call, dressed appropriately and enjoyed the spectacle not only of the ceremony but the elaborate organisation. Speeches by the AIT and the course Organising Committee were followed by a Royal address. The sponsoring Agencies all made short addresses, a keynote speech by Josef Aschbacher (JRC) ended the ceremony, and the students, lecturers and dignitaries retired for an official coffee break attended by the Princess. 

seadas demonstration The afternoon saw the first practical sessions at the GIS Applications Center (GAC), a short, and beautiful, walk across the impressive AIT Campus. The GAC had excellent facilities, and the computer network worked extremely well. The students learned a great deal from these practical, hands-on sessions, as they used the software and worked on supplied exercises. The afternoon sessions introduced applications such as SeaDAS, NOOS, Bilko and primary production. The students worked in small groups of two or three for these sessions. 

The hectic pace of morning lectures and afternoon practical work was augmented by student projects, whereby groups of students, along with a lecturer knowledgeable in the groups field, worked on projects related to their own area of interest.

 After a well-earned day off on November 7th, the course resumed with more lectures, with an increase in student participation, and more practical sessions designed to equip students with the tools to take to their respective countries to use in their own applications.

 The course ended with each student talking about their project, and the awarding of certificates. Each student also completed a course evaluation. The response was overwhelmingly positive, as the students felt they were given an excellent and comprehensive overview of remote sensing, extending beyond their own applications. The students returned to their home countries with copious and extensive lecture notes and handouts, and also with the software they had used in the practical sessions. The students felt the course to be not only useful for themselves, but in fostering cooperation between nations in the region. Plans were made to establish a South East Asian Forum. This forum will be set up by the course participants, and would involve the creation of a website and mailing list to facilitate future collaborations, and for the dissemination of information on ocean-colour relevant to the South East Asian region. 

The course included lectures on the following topics:

  • Introduction to satellite oceanography and remote sensing (H. Kawamura, Japan, T. Tanaka, Japan) 
  • Water Optics (S. Sathyendranath, Canada, N. Hoepffner, Italy, T. Tanaka, Japan, J. Campbell, USA) 
  • Physical Oceanography (T. Yanagi, Japan) 
  • Remote Sensing and Fisheries (S. Matsumura, Japan, J. Ishizaka, Japan) 
  • Ocean, Atmosphere and Land Interactions (H. Kawamura, Japan, J. Campbell, USA, T. Moore, USA) 
  • Primary Production from Space (N. Hoepffner, Italy, S. Sathyendranath, Canada, J. Ishizaka, Japan) 
  • Synergy of Different Remote Sensors (I. Robinson, UK) 
  • Validation and Merging (I. Robinson, UK, J. Campbell, USA) 
  • Applications (S. Sathyendranath, Canada, V. Stuart, Canada) 

The practical sessions introduced the following applications: 

  • SeaDAS (L. Payzant, Canada) 
  • NOOS (A. Mukaida, Japan, S. Matsamura, Japan) 
  • Bilko (C. Donlon, Italy) 
  • Primary Production (N. Hoepffner, Italy) 

The organisers would like to thank the sponsors, and to the hosts at AIT who worked tirelessly, not only to ensure that everything ran according to schedule, but also to cater to the needs of students and lecturers alike. Particular mention should me made of Dr. Lal Samarakoon, Sudchai Naikaset and Kanyarat Trongkamolthan, who worked exceptionally hard on everyone's behalf. Before the course commenced, a great deal of time and effort was spent on preparations for the course at the JRC in Italy, by Dr. Peter Schlittenhardt, Anna Fontana and Françoise Thunis. Invaluable administrative assistance was provided by Elizabeth Gross at SCOR (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research), Maryland, USA.

Students and Lecturers


Josef Aschbacher,
JRC, Italy
Marco Leonardi,
BAMA Computers, Italy
Shubha Sathyendranath,
BIO, Canada
Janet Campbell,
University of New Hampshire, USA
Satsuki Matsamura,
National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Japan
Peter Schlittenhardt,
JRC, Italy
Craig Donlon,
JRC, Italy
Tim Moore,
University of New Hampshire, USA
Venetia Stuart,
IOCCG, Canada
Nicolas Hoepffner,
JRC, Italy
Akira Mukaida,
Haruhiko Kawasaki,
Joji Ishizaka,
Nagasaki University, Japan
Linda Payzant,
BIO, Canada
Tasuku Tanaka,
Hiroshi Kawamura,
Tohoku University, Japan
Ian Robinson,
University of Southampton, UK
Tetsuo Yanagi,
Kyushu University, Japan


Khiruddin Abdullah,
Namita Jadhav,
Lumbangaol Jonson,
Muhammad Abdur Rouf,
Harshinie Karunarathna,
Sri Lanka
Huyen Thi Minh Nguyen,
Retno Andiastuti Ambarini,
Khairul Amri,
Nyo Khin,
Leah Asuncion,
Hyuncheol Kim,
South Korea
Siriluk Prukpitikul,
Francis X. J. Canisius,
Ku Kassim Ku Yaacob,
Penjan Rojana-Anawat,
T.V.N.S. Chandrasekhar,
Ophelia Lee Ching-Wah,
Hong Kong
Phutchapol Suvanachai,
Do Trong Binh,
Surat Lertlum,
Thai Binh Tran,
Pradeep Kumar Garg,
Le Trung Chon,
Ruo-Shan Tseng,
A.B.A.K. Gunaratne,
Sri Lanka
Le Van Trung, Vietnam
Tsui Kit Chi,
Hong Kong
Maryani Hartuti,

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