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Letters to the Editor

  • Trisul Peak: The Mystery of Height

    Thank you for sending me copies of your September 2000 issue (Vol. IV, no. 9). I am happy that the journal is keeping up with its high standard. Your editorial “…Mission Impossible?” and the associated cover are simply excellent. You have done well to highlight the unethical practices of some people, and to reiterate the corruption and inefficiency that permeate our country.

    I was delighted to read the article on “The Trigonometical Survey of India” by Professor K. S. Sivasami. We need many more such articles on the various aspects of the history of surveying and cartography in India. The Survey of India and its predecessors have done pioneering work in these fields and the world should know of their achievements. With vast archival material available with the Survey of India it will be in the fitness of things that they undertake this task They could either entrust this job to their own research-minded staff or get the services of a suitable outside academic. They will thus be making a great contribution to the cause of science in India. In the meantime, articles on certain aspects of the history of surveying in India could be published from time to time in your own journal or the Indian Journal of History of Science.

    Permit me to refer to my note “Atlas Melodrama” in the same issue. A mistake has occurred in line 26, column 2—though the mistake is the slight, it is enough to completely alter my original meaning. I had written “…enough space to print the names without cluttering.” The omission in print of the italicised syllable conveys just the opposite of what I had meant.

    Another matter: I have some more confusing data about the height of the Trisul Peak given by the Survey of India. Yet another value is printed in another publication by SoI. So now we have three different heights for the Trisul peak, all by Sol. I enumerate:

    Panorama view published under the title “Chakrata—View of snows from Deoban Peak 2865…”gives 7120m.
    Panorama in the SoI Atlas (pp. 50-51)gives 7140 m.
    Map of Uttar Pradesh in the Atlas (p.46) gives 7138 m.

    Now which is correct? Are you surprised if my head reels!

    Shanker M. Mathur
    Geological Consultant
    B-15 Alokpuri, Ravindrapalli
    Lucknow -226016
    Ph: +91-522-341889

  • In Search of Military GIS

    The GIS for military stands for “General In Space”. Alka  Singhal needs to be congratulated to do an exemplary, comprehensive  and eye opening write up for the national security in her article “In Search of Military GIS” in your October 2000 issue. The author in short three pages article has measured the ignorance and underutilisation of affordable technology of GIS and Remote Sensing capabilities of India to prevent future “Kithe hai (Where is?) syndrome.

    There are basic problems with defence. The decision making is very sluggish and they would jump for the world latest technology which   is unaffordable and difficult to adopt,  and   their technological  foundation is weak. Like every army and air units, ships have latest computer but do not posses the software for day-to-day work and to conduct and analyse simple exercises. By the time software lands, hardware becomes obsolete. What to say of other countries, the Indian Army maps are also not up to date.

    The Survey of India cannot cope up the demands of the latest maps. The topography of every km is changing fast with industrial growth and population explosion. The deforestation, fight for shelter, hunger, unemployment and misutilisation of natural resources creating frequent  topographical   changes. Therefore it is impossible to keep the map up to date  with  the orthodox technology of Survey of India. The solution to the latest map is that every district should have its own mapping division, which should update all the information of the district and keep updated on the digital maps.  The base maps of all districts with road and rail network up to block level having village boundaries should be available on the Internet. These maps should be easily available to military and other Government Departments and even to NGOs, students and research scholars.

    Military should extensively use hand held GPS to ensure capturing all the changes to be incorporated in the digitised maps, like Multi National Company and other civilian organisations are making use of GPS. The hoax of security clearance of digitised maps has no meaningin present context of technology with one-metre resolution satellite imageries availability. Foreign websites on tourism has all India digitised maps so why scare Indians for security clearance of digitisation of maps for their own use.

    Let us have free playing fields in the era of globalisation. I end my comments with digitisation of maps for security restrictions. “PM Kithe Hai” (PM stands for IT Minister and not Honorable Prime Minister).

    V. Kumar
    President Udyog Bharati
    Uttar Pradesh
    Email: [email protected]

  • In Search of Military GIS

    Being a student, I never used GIS techniques in our laboratory. But recently, (27th to 30th November) we have conducted an exhibition related to Geological Applications in our Department of Applied Geology, Dr. H. S. Gour University, Sagar, MP. Students made many paintings, working models regarding Fluvial Cycle, Plate Tectonics, and Mining Activities. Apart from these we have a Remote Sensing section too, which has become the highlight of the exhibition. We have shown the satellite imageries, Aerial Photographs, but we could not satisfy the audience regarding the application of those photographs. Then the [email protected] has played a wonderful role in convincing the audience how the photographs and imageries are interpreted and used. We have explained about Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS applications in Agriculture, Disaster Management, Ground Water Studies, Environmental Sciences and ultimately in Geological Sciences with the help of your previous issues. Even we have explained how the lack of Spy Satellite lead to loss of soldiers in Kargil. So I hereby mention you that we, the student are doing our job in propagating the knowledge of GIS, RS, GPS and related techniques. I’m conveying my regards and best wishes to each and every member of the team of [email protected]

    P. Venu Manohar
    M.Tech, Department of Applied Geology Dr.H.S.Gour University
    Sagar.470003, Madhya Pradesh
    Email: [email protected]