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Thailand introduces new app to facilitate air traffic and aviation safety during rocket festival

A new application in Thailand was recently introduced during the traditional Bung Fai rocket launching festival observed in May to June. The Bumpen application was used by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) to facilitate the air traffic and to enhance the aviation safety during the said event.

The Bun Fai rocket launch festival is an ancient local festival that is celebrated in Yasothon, a province in Thailand’s northeast region. This festival celebrates the traditional beliefs in supernatural powers that help augment the production of rice crops, in preparation for the coming planting season. Provisions for this event began several weeks before the actual day. Rockets, of about nine metres in length, are paraded in the streets until launch site is reached. Villagers, who are dressed in colourful and traditional costumes, accompany the whole procession. The main attraction of this event is the actual launching of each rocket individually from its platform.

GISTDA Executive Director Anond Snidvongs said that by using the Bumpen application, which was developed for government agencies, private companies and the general public, his agency was able to regulate the launch of the rockets and guarantee aviation safety during the festival.

GISTDA was established on 3 November 2000 as a public organisation which assumes all responsibilities and activities concerning space technology and geo-informatics applications.

GISAVIA platform, from which Bumpen was created from, is also known as the Geo-Informatics Platform for Aviation. GISAVIA has the dual use feature for security and commercial aviation purposes, which is essential in supporting air traffic expansion and socio-economic growth.

In a study involving the development of GISAVIA, it was noted that global air traffic was growing, especially in the ASEAN region. Some of the findings in the study included rapid increase in air traffic volume and the possibility of ASEAN being the highest region in terms of air traffic, in the future. Knowing this gives Thailand the perfect economic opportunity.

Being located at the heart of the ASEAN is a geographical advantage for Thailand. To engage in the air transport industry within the region will be beneficial for the country. In order to be considered a competitor in the region, higher significance is given to increasing the efficiency of the systems related with air traffic. Addressing the possible increase in demand by balancing the traffic volume is essential to accommodate traffic. Moreover, development of the system will boost Thailand’s capacity to develop its own aviation technology, thereby reducing its dependence on foreign systems.

Stemming from the GISAVIA platform, Bumpen application came to existence. During the Bun Fai rocket launch festival, the application helped in notifying agencies and officials of the exact location from which the rockers will be launching from. Determining the risk areas will affect flight plans but is significant because they need to adjust their existing plans to maintain safety.

Other possible use for the application that is worth looking into would be for flying of drones, which also falls under activities involving aerospace.

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