Inside this issue
Rural employment creation is the vital process in mitigating economic weakness of rural poor using best of the technological paradigm available. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a citizen benefit scheme with legal binding that ensures guaranteed demand driven wage employment to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work, within 15 days of making such a requisition. Under this scheme around 30 lakh (three million) assets are created annually across the country, which involves construction of water harvesting, drought relief and flood control structures as preferred activities, besides others. GeoMGNREGA is the geospatial component used under MGNREGA, for space technology based innovation in locating the assets created on a satellite image database, followed by quality control of information, with subsequent enabling of citizen feedback on the assets created towards transparency in implementation of the scheme.
Crop production forecasts using satellite remote sensing data has been conceptualised at Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad in early eighties under Crop Production Forecasting (CPF) project. Its success led to the CAPE (Crop Acreage and Production Estimation) project for Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) towards forecasting of production of crops in the major growing regions. In order to enhance the scope of this project, the Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based Observations (FASAL) programme was conceptualised by developing methodology for multiple in-season forecasts of crops at national scale. A centre named Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) was established by MoA&FW in New Delhi in April 2012 which operationally uses space-based observations for national level pre-harvest multiple crop production forecasts of nine field crops.
Geospatial technology also provides input for various aspects of horticulture development, including research, expansion, post-harvest management etc. A project called CHAMAN (Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using geoinfromatics) was initiated for better horticulture inventory and management using remote sensing, GIS and collateral field data.
Conventionally, progress monitoring of irrigation infrastructure creation is carried out through field inspection of few selected locations and also using inputs provided by implementing state agencies. Based on the potential of high resolution remote sensing data for irrigation infrastructure monitoring as demonstrated by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Central Water Commission (CWC) entrusted it to use Cartosat satellite data for assessing the irrigation infrastructure creation status in 103 projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), spread over 21 states, covering 6.45 million hectare (Mha) irrigation potential. Further, Bhuvan-AIBP web application, simplifying the satellite data usage for monitoring irrigation infrastructure creation status was also developed. The capacity building enabled CWC to subsequently carry out the monitoring of irrigation projects, internally, using the AIBP-Bhuvan online monitoring tool.
A dedicated geoportal Telangana Water Resources Information System (TWRIS)for Irrigation and Command Area Development (I&CAD) Department, Government of Telangana, is developed on Bhuvan, for organising the necessary geospatial information for water resources management of the state, using multi-source inputs. The portal also provides online tools and support for geospatial data creation, visualisation and integration of water resources data from different sources.
India is one of the important marine fish producing countries. Conventionally, for profitable fish catch, fishermen have to spend a lot of time scouting the region using up precious fuel and time as the fish resources are affected by spatial and temporal nature of various environmental factors like temperature, availability of food, currents, wind etc. Due to limited visibility, fishing vessels are unable to see the dynamic nature of environmental parameters on a larger scale that affect the distribution of fish resources. However, satellite remote sensing offers a synoptic view of the ocean in space and time and can provide information needed to assess and locate the probable areas of fish aggregation. In view of this, Space Applications Centre (SAC) initiated and developed an approach to identify and forecast Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) using remote sensing technique and transferred the technology to Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) for operational execution.
In order to provide satellite derived input for efficient forest fire management in India, comprehensive forest fire detection and monitoring system is developed by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO. Intra- and inter-seasonal spatio-temporal pattern of forest fires are monitored and analysed to derive regional and national level statistics for active fire locations, extent of area burnt and prioritisation of fire vulnerable zones. The active fire products and burnt area products are provided to user (state forest departments) and Forest Survey of India (FSI) for fire mitigation and management.
Tropical cyclones are one of the most destructive meteorological hazards that form in the warm oceans and affect the surrounding countries by causing huge loss to life and property. Inputs from satellite-based observations are efficient to monitor these cyclonic activities from genesis to dissipation.
India is the second worst flood affected country in the world and the perennial river basins of Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi and Godavari rivers witness flooding every year. Flood forecasting, near real-time monitoring of floods and flood hazard zonation are the widely adopted methods of flood hazard mitigation.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—popularly known as drones, one of the most promising and emerging technologies, are being used to improve disaster response and relief operations. UAVs armed with remote sensing technology (UAV-RS) are being increasingly used for risk assessment and monitoring, as they offer flexibility and quick deployment at low operational cost. Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT) embedded with sensors and applications for collection and exchange of data is another important technology which can offer excellent support for emergency management. UAVs integrated with IoT (UAV-IoT) can improve the effectiveness of emergency response during disasters. This article presents the utilisation of UAVs for disaster management support activity highlighting few case studies. A model on IoT platform conceptualised for disaster management support using UAVs is also presented here.
Characterisation and quantification of biodiversity is one of the major challenges in its conservation and prioritisation. Until recently spatial ecological database in India was almost non-existent. National Biodiversity Characterisation at Landscape Level, a project jointly sponsored by Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space, has been implemented to identify and map the potential biodiversity rich regions in India. This project has generated spatial information at three levels viz. Satellite based primary information (Vegetation type map, spatial locations of road and village, fire occurrence); geospatially derived or modelled information (Disturbance Index, Fragmentation, Biological Richness) and geospatially designed stratified field samples (~16500). This is one of the unique data repository generated as baseline data for characterising spatial distribution of landscape level biodiversity in the country. The entire database has been organised into a web-based repository named “Biodiversity Information System” for geo-visualisation, analysis, online spatial modelling and data dissemination to various user groups.