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Indian government planning to move over GIS in utility sector

Several state governments are working on e-goverence projects that aim to make information available online to the public. In Andhra Pradesh, socio-economic and census data, land use details and road network has already been mapped in GIS in the first phase. The second phase of mapping under this initiative will include public utilities, making it possible to address public grievances regarding electricity cuts, water supply, phone connections, sanitation facilities and transport services. UNDP and department of Science and Technologies have also executed a project titled GIS – Based Technology for local – Level Development Planning, which generated Decision support Modules for select sectors like water resources management, land use planning, energy budgeting and infrastructure development.

Most Indian cities have a complex network of utilities. Water pipes, sewer lines, gas and oil pipelines, telephone cables, electrical wires, etc lie buried under the ground. Breakages and leakages in these cause serious health hazards, fires, etc. On the ground, we go about our daily lives blissfully unaware of what lies beneath us. What is scary is that more often than not, planning authorities and utility providers are just as clueless! Many Indian municipalities, state governments and corporates are walking up to the fact that utility mapping is important. MTNL and other telecom companies in Delhi use trenchless technology to lay their cables, which avoid digging up of roads. They also use tools like the Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) to detect existing underground utilities before they plan their work. Reliance Infocom has extensively used GIS for virtual activities like network planning, engineering, operations and maintenance. In Tamil Naidu, lying of fibre optic cables is permitted by the state government after consulting with Municipal Administration & Water Supply, Highways and other relevant departments to avoid inconvience and wastage. By using GIS technology, Remote Sensing and geophysics, it is possible to create accurate maps of the area with information on underground utilities. A significant advantage of GIS is its ability to visualize spatial data and the interpret information visually, making it an efficient tool for decision-making.

Source: Mukta Nair
Times of India, 12th July 2003