India: Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has added a number of new features in Bhuvan, the Google-Earth-like satellite mapping tool. The features include:
– Adds 2D Interface: A 2D interface has been added in Bhuvan. It allows switching between 2D and 3D modes. The 2D interface is available online to even those who don’t install a Bhuvan plugin.
– Integrates Rediff Maps: The 2D interface has integrated a layer of Rediff Maps, from NASDAQ listed Rediff.com.
– Community & Interactivity: A community tool within the 3D interface also has been integrated in Bhuvan. It allows multiple users to collaborate and chat. Now, Bhuvan also allows users to lead, follow and share in real-time, interactive fly-through sessions, chat with other users, mark up areas on the terrain and toggle information layers for further analysis.
– Opens up the API: Bhuvan’s Application Program Interface (API) now allows developers to create applications based on its functional code. It allows users to embed a true 3D digital globe, into web pages. Using the API one can draw markers and lines, drape images over the terrain.
– Crowdsourcing content: In the 3D version, there is an “Add Content” tool makes it easy for users to add their own information (Volunteered Geographic Information), allowing them to crowdsource information.
Content information has been expanded in Bhuvan by integrating information on land resources, agriculture, soil, water, ocean sciences, ground water potential, eco systems, biodiversity etc, extracted from multi-resolution remote sensing images, which are taken by various ISRO Satellites. According to an official note from ISRO, “Information derived from the satellite imagery helps in the creation of digital data base for facilitating hazard zonation, damage assessment, monitoring of major natural disasters and R&D towards early warning of disasters.”
– Adds Firefox, Netscape & Google Chrome Browser Support For 2D: One could previously access Bhuvan only using Internet Explorer.
– Hindi Interface: A note from Bhuvan to registered users suggests that “The new version of Bhuvan is also available in Hindi to enhance the outreach of its capability among the Indian User community.”