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Cartographers are partners in national development, says India’s President Dr. Abdul Kalam

New Delhi, India, 22 November 2006 – Addressing the 26th Congress of Indian National Cartographic Association (INCA) in New Delhi, the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said today that the cartographic community has a key role to play in national development and expressed hope that the community will provide value added services to all national missions.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India has a vision of transforming itself into a developed nation before 2020. There are number of missions which need inputs from cartography technologies that will certainly accelerate the process of development.

The programme such as Bharat Nirman Programme including PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas), networking of rivers, infrastructure development in 63 cities through Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission, mapping of earthquake prone areas and recurring floods in north Bihar and Assam require vital inputs at the stage of planning and implementation level.

The mission of INCA should be to assist the implementation of developed India vision using their core competence in cartography in partnership with ISRO, NRSA, Survey of India, State Remote Sensing centers, Thematic map making organizations, Indian Remote Sensing Industries, Academia, Research Institutions and other IT organizations.

He further said that India has planned for a series of satellites specifically for cartographic applications. The first in the series, CARTOSAT-I launched in May 2005 is the first high resolution satellite that collects the details of terrain surface in stereo mode with the spatial resolution of 2.5 meters. As of today, he stated that more than 90% of the country is covered with stereo images.

These images could also be used for better urban planning, cadastral level information of land and water resources. This satellite mission has enabled developing Digital Elevation Model (DEM). This elevation model is useful in GIS (Geographical Information System) environment, providing a terrain model to facilitate drainage network analysis, watershed demarcation, erosion mapping, contour generation and quantitative analysis like location-distance-area-volume calculation. The DEM could also provide scene simulation and fly through visualization of the terrain.

He outlined the following six missions relevant to vision 2020 for immediate implementation for the cartographers:

– Creating a network of all organizations and cartographers participating in the Congress so that they can interface and provide inputs for the development of modern cartographic products required for national development missions.

– Bringing out large scale maps using advanced technologies for various national development programmes like PURA, interlinking of rivers, survey/resurvey of cadasters, Urban development, metro rail, water ways.

– Provide cartographic inputs to drought, flood and earthquake prone areas to the disaster management teams for effective planning of disaster management delivery system.

– Making available high resolution digital maps produced in India and placing the maps on website thereby creating virtual Earth for India for easy access to its citizens in a time bound manner with suitable policies and adequate security mechanism.

– Identifying wastelands which are essential to take up Jatropha cultivation for bio diesel production. Cartographers should come out in identifying the exact quantum of wasteland available in the country and help the government and farmers for enabling the Jatropha cultivation.

– Training and building a human resource team which can face the cartographic challenges of the twenty first century.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Dr. T. Ramasami appealed to the cartographers to convert the maps into useful product and called for greater interaction between the users of the product and its generators.