The Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS) is an initiative of Department of Science and Technology of Government of India, conceived to help Policy makers and planners to formulate developmental strategy. In doing so, they have the advantage of the progress made in recent years in the methodologies designed to collect, archive and process the multidisciplinary ground data.
This basic data on land, its people and the natural resources has been collected since several decades by multiple national and private organizations on varying scales. Initially, the size and data population was restricted only to major parameters but gradually with advancement of the science and development of methodologies in data collection, it was possible to gather a wealth of data over a large terrain for several parameters in a short time and store in a more convenient format for retrieval at a desired time, for use in governance or for research purposes.
This changed scenario, especially the support and application of computers and tools of Information Technology, with application of indigenously developed GIS package, Geo Referenced Area Management (GRAM++) on Windows 95/NT platform has enabled quicker data mining and its use. The development of spatial data management tools has further made the application and research in this field possible giving impetus to micro level, integrated panchayat and district level planning. India has been making tremendous inroads in the sphere of information technology and has been keeping pace with the developments being made internationally. It is rightly being considered to be one of the main sources, globally, of intellectual force behind the new developments taking place in this field.
Several governmental agencies such as: Survey of India (SOI), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Space Application Centre (SAC) of ISRO, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) of DRDO and its numerous laboratories, National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS), Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Indian Institute oif Geomagnetism (IIG), Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organization (NMTMO), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Census of India, Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP), India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NMRWF) Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), National Centre for Seismology (NCS), National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Fishery Survey of India (FSI), Central Marine Fishery Research Institute (CMFRI), Wild Life Institute of India (WII), etc are engaged in collecting, updating and collating the database in the field of their respective expertise.
As a result of such concerted efforts, the nation has developed huge databases that cover nearly all important fields of living and non living natural resources, basic data on demographic details, socio-economics, agro-economy, rainfall and other met parameters as well as basic data on infrastructure with village/ district as the basic unit. The SOI, for example, has prepared topographical maps of entire India on varying scales but more commonly on 1:50,000, which give information of infrastructure such as roads, railway lines, rivers, canals and all important structures that can be projected on that scale. The lateral distances and vertical heights are depicted. The contours along with heights above mean sea level of some triangulation points help in linking the sites to such trigonometric positions. The use of aerial photography and photogrammetric tools has enabled SOI to map difficult Himalayan and other inaccessible terrains. These maps serve as a basic tool for plotting other detailed subject wise database and prepare hundreds of thematic maps such as soil and agronomic maps (Fig 1), satellite image maps (Fig 2), Seismic zonation map maps (Fig 3) and maps showing distribution of economic minerals. Geological maps, earthquake risk and coastal management maps etc. may be quoted in this line. The list is unending.
Fig 1. Soil map of Karnataka.
Fig. 2. Satellite Map of parts of Bengaluru (Roads and Buildings)
Fig.3. Seismic Zonation map of India
Applicability in Governance:
Most of the above information is linked to location of the site of data in 3-D form or in latitudes, longitudes and vertical height (the coordinate system) i.e. it is spatial. The integration of Geographical Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) into spatial datasets has increased the accuracy and ease of adoptability of the information for various governance purposes. Need for collating this vast data and information into a system that can be used by governmental and private bodies has given rise to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
This spatial information on natural resources, cultural and environmental aspects is available at the local/state and national levels for concerned authorities for putting to use in decision making towards formulation and execution of socio-economic/ developmental programs for communities. The spatial database will come handy for infra-structure development and disaster management, especially during natural calamities such as floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes etc.
The proposed developments of “e-superhighways” and “going digital” movement of Government of India, have opened new vistas of data sharing. The fast way of sharing the data would greatly help in coordination and cooperation efforts between sister organizations and adjoining districts as well as between state and national Bodies, especially, for hazard mitigation activities.
To quote some examples: the mapping of active landslide areas, mapping of glacial lakes under threat of outburst (GLOF), preparation of microzonation maps of earthquake prone districts – installation of seismometers and activation of Tsunami prediction Centres, mapping of coastal regions, especially of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu likely to be inundated by cyclones and linkages of this and similar data with district/ state and central agencies demonstrates how the National Spatial Data Infrastructure can be of immense use to communities at ground level.
ISRO’s Annual Report for 2016-17 describes ‘the societal services offered by INSAT / GSAT satellites in the area of tele-education and telemedicine and that of the applications of Remote Sensing projects at National, State and Local levels through well-established multi-pronged implementation under NNRMS in the country. The Indian Remote Sensing Satellite constellation has helped in Agricultural Crops Inventory, Agricultural Drought, Forest Fire, Landslides and Earthquake Monitoring, Gas pipeline monitoring, Groundwater Prospects Mapping, Inventory, Monitoring of Glacial Lakes / Water Bodies and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue.’
Some of the societal programs where NRDMS / NSDI database is going to be developed for used by multiple agencies are :
- a) Development of village level geospatial information system, especially for health related issues,
- b) Revival of village ponds to store rain water to make up for water scarcity ,
- c) Ground water availability/ aquifer mapping in drought prone areas
- d) Water resource availability in different water sheds, or drinking and agricultural, purposes
- e) Geological and geotechnical mapping of vulnerable areas w .r .t. landslides in Uttarakhand and other Himalayan regions,
- f) Land records and land management
- g) Energy resource- thermal / hydro / solar
- h) Natural Disaster mitigation
- i) Identification and mapping of proglacial lakes that have potential of breaching.