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India Launches Spatial Planning App

India Gram Manchitra Application Launch
Image credit: mopr goi; Twitter

The Union Minister for Rural Development launched the Gram Manchitra application at the National Panchayat Awards 2019 in New Delhi, earlier this week.

The Gram Manchitra application is a spatial planning tool that was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Village councils can use the India gram manchitra application to plan, develop, and monitor developmental activities in real-time.

It aims to promote digitalisation and e-governance at the grass-root level.

India Gram Manchitra Application
The Gram Manchitra app aims to promote digitalisation and e-governance at the grass-root level. [Image credit: mopr_goi; Twitter]
The India spatial planning app is based on NIC’s multilayer GIS platform Bharat Maps.

According to the government, the Digital India initiative aims to establish an end-to-end geospatial electronics delivery system as part of the Mission Mode Projects in the e-governance domain.

The national GIS mission is the foundation for the location-based electronic delivery of services for planning and governance.

Bharat Maps is an integrated base map service that uses a 1:50,000 scale reference data from the Survey of India (SOI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), among others. This encompasses 23 layers containing administrative boundaries, transport layers such as roads and railways, forest layers, and settlement locations.

Last month, the government launched a drone-powered digital maps project.

Under the project, SOI, with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), will digitally map the length and breadth of the country over the next two years.

Unlike the global positioning systems (GPS), which is a satellite-based navigation system, the digital maps for India are likely to be more accurate and precise.

The resolution of the map is five centimetres (cm), which means that one pixel will represent five cm on the ground. For accuracy, SOI needs at least two pixels, meaning the accuracy of the map will be 10 cm.

For national security, sensitive areas like defence bases will be edited out of the maps. SOI will prepare two series of maps; the open series map (OSM) for civilian uses or open uses and the defence series map (DSM) for defence uses only.

The drones will have sensors with Indian and global reference points programmed into them. When they take images of the ground, they can tell the exact longitude and latitude of that place.

The maps could be used for urban planning and other ground utility projects. For example, if a panchayat (village) has to make a pond, it will know where the low-lying areas are and plan it accordingly to ensure maximum water retention, the surveyor-general of India explained.

The idea is to make digital maps available to everyone. The mapping is drone-based but will be corroborated with ground-based information.

SOI has over 2,500 ground control points, uniformly distributed throughout the country and of which the standardised coordinates are known. However, the new mapping will be supported by a network of continuously operating reference stations (CORS) for instant online 3D positioning.

The objective is to generate digital maps on a 1:500 scale. So far, it maintains topographic maps in 1:5,000,000 and partially in 1:2,500,000 and 1:1,000,000 scales.

The SOI also plans to map floodplains of the river Ganga and 25 kilometres around the region. The map will help researchers gather information about the source of discharge, erosion, and elevation on both sides of the plain. It will also help predict flooding patterns.

The DST is preparing a draft geospatial data policy that will cover who can own geospatial data, how they can use it, and how it can be shared.

The policy will be put in the public domain for consultation soon. It will set a balance between security and products for advancement.


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