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Beyond surf and sand…

Ravi Gupta

It was Banda Aceh then; now its Mumbai – the coastal areas have been bearing the brunt of water – the unmanaged, the uncontrolled, the less known water.

The need for having an established marine information system is now being increasingly realized. Where, when and how much of water exists and how the adjacent coastal area be managed with respect to it – the availability of such information may aid in helping prevent the inhabitants from water’s fury. During the recent Mumbai rains, it was argued that the least the administration could have done was to alert the people to the dangers of travelling back home during the rising tide which coincided with stupendous cloud burst over the city. Had there been a system (probably flood modelling linked to GIS) that has been continuously updating the information on coastal drainage networks and updated land use patterns, sounding such alert could have been a possibility.

The essentiality of GIS and RS for coastal region and a country like Indonesia having innumerable islands can be gauged by the inflow of papers that have come for the Disaster Management session to be organised in Map Asia Conference. An integrated database of all the attributes of all the islands collected by means of photogrammetry and remote sensing should be a natural choice of such nations governments.

Having marine GIS is particularly important for countries where marine industry contributes to a sizeable chunk of the country’s income. A fisherman’ s easy access to the marine resources and the increasing competition for array of natural resources that exist below sea, make the issue of marine cadastre equally important.

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