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3D Mapping of Walled City


Brig.(Dr.) R Siva Kumar
Goverment of India

During late 2005 and for the whole of 2006, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, deliberated with the government upon whether the construction done in the walled city, after the Master Plan was approved, was legal or illegal? If they were illegal, how to identify them and also how to check this rampant illegal construction in the wake of rapid urbanisation and population growth?Several surveys were conducted but each one had its own benefits and limitations. This led to a virtual stand-off in the final decision of the court. The need of the hour is for people from science and technology research fraterneity to come forward and suggest technologies/ techniques, which could ease the stand-off.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and an agency of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a pilot study on generating 3D GIS Database of Zone I of Delhi. The area identified was 20sq km of Chandni Chowk area of the walled city, Delhi.

Chandni Chowk was built in 1650 AD as an accompaniment to the Red Fort. It was designed by Jahanara, the Emperor's favorite daughter. A large chowk ("square") with a central pool was built at some distance from the fort. The story goes that on a moonlit night, the new complex and the pool lay shimmering; as a result, it acquired the name ‘Chandni Chowk’ or the”moonlit square". Another legend says that the Chowk was named after its silversmiths.

There is also a confusion regarding the word 'chandi' (silver) with 'chandni' (moonlit). Fig-1 shows an image of Chandni Chowk.


Fig.1: Present-day Chandni Chowk

The monitoring of the area was also important because of the fact that this is the one of the oldest places in Delhi, from where urbanisation started and on which the present Master Plan has little impact. However, considering the fact that this is India's most prominent wholesale and retail market for more than three centuries, monitoring this region is crucial, in view of the safety of people and property.

Generation of 3D database from Chandni Chowk would enable 3D modelling and establishment of real time monitoring system for,

  • Visualisation of data in 3D
  • Real time monitoring of illegal constructions
  • Land encroachments
  • Crowd monitoring
  • Traffic management
  • Tax collection for properties
  • Planning and development of the areas
  • Utilities management such as water, power, gas, sewerage etc.
  • Disaster mitigation and management
  • Environmental monitoring such as pollution control

Fig. 2. Study Area (2a) and Road Network of Delhi City Zone Area (2b).