Need of the Hour – Mapping Mission

Need of the Hour – Mapping Mission


An effective disaster management strategy is increasingly becoming the need of the hour. Regular updating of data codes and manuals is becoming essential. A High Powered Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of J C Pant, Former Secretary to the Government of India for the efficient implementation this strategy. The HPC has identified about thirty disasters which have been categorised into five sub groups. They are as follows:

  • Water and climate related hazards
  • Geologically related hazards
  • Chemical, Industrial and nuclear related disasters
  • Accident related disasters
  • Biologically related disasters.

A sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Shri Ramesh Chandra, Member HPC to deliberate upon the mapping needs of the vulnerable areas for disaster preparedness which will be suitably incorporated into the Disaster Management Plan. In its report, the Committee recommended taking up a pre-disaster proactive approach consisting of prevention, reduction and mitigation with precise maps prepared for this purpose. The Committee felt that easy availability of precise maps for each disaster focusing on the vulnerable areas would go a long way in taking preparedness measures for future disasters. The major recommendations of this committee may be summarised as follows:

  • Disaster Management efforts viz. prevention, reduction, mitigation, relief and rehabilitation require:
    1. Precision Maps with
    2. Spatial Data
    3. Non-Spatial Data
    4. Identification of activities, agencies, resources and funds for carrying out the works
    5. Implementation and Monitoring at all stages
  • Survey of India maps have to be suitably supplemented for information relating to specific and individual disasters as well as for planning of development programmes.
  • Effective flood disaster management requires large-scale maps on 1:15,000 scales with contour intervals from 0.3. to 0.5 m to cover all areas upto 3 m.
  • For drought prevention/reduction and monitoring of drought onslaughts, the existing maps of 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 supplemented by remotely sensed maps could be used for initial planning. For detailed planning of watershed areas, large-scale maps of 1:15,000 or 1:10,000 scale is required.
  • Mapping for coastal areas requires identification of critical reaches before planning protection works. The committee proposed 1:25,000 scale maps for critical areas and those on 1:10,000 for very high eroding and critical reaches to plan preventive and reduction measures.
  • Large-scale maps of 1:10,000 have been recommended for the purpose of developmental planning and preventive measures. Production of topographic maps for hazardous locations on a priority basis has been strongly recommended.
  • Based upon the maximum water levels to be attained as per dam break analysis the inundation map is required to be prepared on a scale of 1:15,000 showing contours preferably at 2 meters or less from the dam site and up to the last point. The emergency action plan (EAP) could be formulated from this inundation map.
  • It is extremely useful to prepare road maps for all national, provincial and other highways with all such information about location and address of petrol pumps with first aid, telephone and telecom centers, medical care centers, hospitals, police stations, fire brigade stations, flying squads and volunteering agencies. Special identifications ought to be for medical centers offering trauma services, orthopaedic surgery and fracture treatment facilities. Such maps need to be specially prepared for all common road routes and travel with metropolitan cities. The existing topographic maps of 1:50,000 scale and 1:25,000 scale can be used for marking them as spatial and non-spatial data.
  • Maps for the entire country are available on 1:50,000 scale and on 1:25,000 scale for more than half of the area. Futher exercise of the nature mentioned above need to be carried out in a detailed and systematic manner for the hazard zones identified by the group. This can be done in a phased manner so that information becomes available for all hazard areas on 1:25,000 scale. For this purpose it will be necessary to complete the topographic maps of all hazard areas on 1:25,000 scale that remain to be done by Survey of India. Cadastral survey maps on 1:4,000 scale can be used for urban and town dwelling areas.