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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration
western 20 percent of the country. This station receives and processes only TM data, and a royalty is paid to EOSAT in the United States. This station does not receive Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data.1
TM data are used for mineral exploration purposes, including gold, oil, and coal. China has oil off-shore and in scattered parts of the eastern mainland, and has potentially large deposits in the far western regions (some geologists and others believe that China's oil deposits could rival those discovered in the Middle East). With such possibilities, the Japanese are investing 5.5 × 106 yen in mineral exploration activities in China. Japan is this center's major collaborator.
Major remote sensing application units are the CAS Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, the NEPA Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, and the Peking University Institute of Remote Sensing Technology and Application (see below). In addition, the station provides remote sensing imagery services to more than 30 other units. For example, the station will be the source of imagery used in a national key remote sensing project in the Eighth 5-Year Plan to monitor and forecast natural disasters and crop production (the Commission for Integrated Survey of Natural Resources [CISNAR] and others will be involved). Such services are not automatic, and many research institutes are not able to afford the cost of remote sensing in their research plans.
About 200 persons staff six technical departments (receiving, processing, photo laboratory, digital processing laboratory, geographic information systems [GIS], and remote sensing applications) and three support departments (planning, logistics, and administration). Skilled personnel include both M.S.- and Ph.D.-level people, many from Tsinghua and Peking Universities. Funding is the specific limitation at the station, especially for keeping up state-of-the-art hardware. Personnel use I-squared software now, but have the capacity to write their own.
Some remote sensing research is going on in the applications department, which is being upgraded in anticipation of the launching of Landsat Six (which is expected to go up soon with upgraded capacity of 15 × 15 m pixel in panchromatic). The station is also preparing to handle Synthetic Aperture Radar planned for the Japanese and European remote sensing vehicles. This will change the operations of this unit considerably.
This station has no educational function. Instead, it relies on the remote sensing institute at Peking University (see below) that runs a training center under a coordinated training service for units using remote sensing.