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Geoportal facilitates local level planning in Karnataka

A district level geoportal developed by Karnataka State Council for Science & Technology is supporting local level planning at district, taluk and village level in the state

Over the past two decades, all the districts of Karnataka state have been covered under Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS). With increasing dependence of the zilla panchayats/urban local bodies, line departments and other stakeholders of local level planning on spatial datasets, a need was felt to speed up the process of discovery of and access to up to date spatial datasets.
Bangalore-based Karnataka State Council for Science & Technology (KSCST) has developed district-level GIS databases to support the process of local level planning at district, taluk and village levels in Karnataka. The database has been established under a joint project of NRDMS of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and the Government of Karnataka. Each district database contains spatial and attribute datasets useful in local level planning processes in natural resources, demography, agroeconomy, socio-economic development and infrastructure facilities. The respective zilla panchayats and line departments have been depending upon the databases for meeting their spatial data requirements.
The Council, with the support of DST, Government of Kerala, and DST, Government of Karnataka, has developed a geoportal to discover/ access spatial data sets useful in the local level planning process through Karnataka State Spatial Data Infrastructure (KSSDI) Project.
The geo-portal is expected to serve as a centralized hub for other spatial data generating agencies in the state.
Web-enabled centralised database of various existing spatial, attribute or statistical data has been generated at KSCST, Bangalore. Cataloguing of various data/metadata services available in Karnataka geoportal has already been taken up and with increasing user awareness, the state will have to frame a policy/guideline for dealing with user requests for getting access to feature or map data.
An open approach at this stage with government stakeholders will facilitate better user awareness and promotion of the use of the standardised datasets/ services in governance-related activities. This in turn will help upgrade value of the data/ services for their better marketability amongst stakeholder agencies. Participation of state level departments/directorates will facilitate in arriving at suitable modalities for the data/ metadata using the geospatial tool developed under this project.
The Steering Committee formed under KSSDI project has also triggered the issue of data sharing as well as data updation process.

Karnataka geoportal services
Karnataka Geo Portal is envisaged to be a centralised single window access mechanism for all spatial data held and acquired by various agencies /line departments of the state.
The modules in the Karnataka Geoportal are categorized into
• Map viewer-Web Map Service (WMS),
• Product catalogue/metadata -Catalogue Service on Web (CS-W)
• Services-specific service/ feature datasets – Web Feature Service (WFS)
• Simple Applications (Query based decision support)
• Coverage services/images – Web Coverage Service (WCS)
• Help/support
The Council, in the second phase, is developing a web-based near real-time geospatial applications/decision support system for selected schemes of watershed and health departments to support g-governance on Karnataka geoportal platform.
The 2nd phase of KSSDI project is expected to maximise utilization of the Karnataka State Geoportal and to demonstrate the utility of the geoportal in two identified sectors i.e. watershed management and health. The concept of g- governance is planned to be demonstrated on Karnataka Geoportal platform. The vision is to make Karnataka Geoportal truly the best portal in the area of providing geospatial governance i.e., to plan, monitor, review and evaluate several government schemes requiring spatial datasets.

Crowd sourcing
The utilisation of geospatial data and services for a wider use has seen a steady growth in recent decade. This has led the administrators and planners to seek and adopt various data capturing devices to collect and collate quality spatial data at micro-level. The availability of spatial data at finer resolution is also crucial for planning and decision-making at micro level. Based on the felt need, the Council took up a study to assess the capability of crowd sourcing concepts to capture geospatial information by authorities on public assets and community resources, to enrich and augment the spatial content of the data. Crowd sourcing through authorized sources enable authoritative data availability at micro level in a short span of time at a nominal cost. Mobile application developed on android platform was assessed in gram panchayats to check spatial accuracy and data capture format. The results are within the acceptable limits. The portal will integrate spatial data acquired through authoritative crowd sourcing.

The following are the concerns felt during this process:

  • The operation and maintenance and Spatial Data Infrastructure, ensuring participation of stakeholder organisations and continuous updation of databases to provide near real-time services for governance are still a major concern and issue in the dissemination of SDI concepts.
  • Attention to promote authoritative crowd sourcing concepts (simple, economical and less time consuming) to capture and update micro – level data to augment the availability of databases necessary for planning.

SDIs shall strive to provide multi-lingual information and services to citizens like navigation, point of interest and geo-enabled services through a variety of devices.