Hyderabad, India: National development and empowering the people was the central theme at the two-day NRSC User’s Meet 2013 that kicked off in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Setting the tone for the day, Y.V.N. Krishnamurthy, Director, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, said NRSC valued its users because its mission was to aid national development. He added Bhuvan was unique because it addressed national development and was being used for rural development, empowering village panchayats – allowing them to download not only the data but also the geo processing tools. “If you see the XII Plan document also, it talks about village and rural development and that’s the way for progress.” From services like giving out potential fishing zone information to near real-time flood weather parameters and flood inundated areas, the societal applications of Bhuvan includes wasteland information, ground water prospects, soil information and much more.
He also said mobile apps have become an important development tool. “Whatever we do at NRSC are for rural and urban development both in offline and online mode. But it can give way to new 3D GIS tool. NRSC is also working on 3D GIS tools which can be used on a mobile with a minimum feature.”
Drawing attention to the fact that assimilation of data into applications was one of the important tasks, he said this must be looked at more effectively. “The future is turning very fast from what we have seen the last 25 years and we all have to be ready for that. We must also pay attention to knowledge and capacity building.” He added that IIRS would organise a capacity building workshop in Dehradun on March 11-12.
Krishnamurthy brought attention on an interesting trend – more and more people from engineering and computer side were getting into geospatial domain and there was a sea shift in software industry too since location had become an important parameter. He pointed out that the feedback from the human resource departments in IT companies was that people with knowledge of geospatial sector were regarded very high in the IT sector.
Carrying on with similar thoughts, former NRSC chief and chief guest on the occasion Prof V. Jayaraman said NRSC has done an information revolution by making data available even to the lowest rung of the users. Calling for a greater collaboration with the users, he said only users can guide an organisation like NRSC to decide how to move forward. He called on ISRO and NRSC to bring industry, academia and users together to complete the circle.
Prof Jayaraman was of the view that there was an abundance of data today and it was no more an issue. “There is so much of data that today we are talking about big data; so the question was what we do with that data.” Giving an example of the data abundance as well as progress in technology, he said, “In 1972 when we launched, data was available for $4500 per sheet, and today we are talking about free data available on the web!”
He gave the example of the meteor showers in Russia last week, that injured a lot of people and which was tracked by a Chinese satellite, to establish what can be achieved with technology. “Large amount of high resolution data is available today. But have we exhausted all we can do with it? It has become a lot free today compared to the past. How we use it is important and so application scientists have become important,” he said, adding, “Organised data becomes information. Information digested becomes knowledge and knowledge when applied becomes wisdom.”
Talking about mobile power, he said today’s mobiles have more power than the computers Americans used to launch man on moon. “Mobile is overtaking the PC desktop fast. Sale of desktops has come down by 8% in the last year globally. So whatever we talk about have to be on mobile, and GIS also have to be mobile trendy.” He identified cloud as the next step and crowd sourcing, cloud computing and social networking as the new areas.
He also said NRSC regional centres played a vital role in connecting with the users because they reach every part of the country and bring the pulse of the users back to the centre.
NRSC director in-charge Dr D.S. Jain said NRSC provided of 1 metre and coarser without any restriction whereas selected data above 23 metres was freely available on Bhuvan. He also said NRSC has initiated a programme called Integrated Multi-mission Ground segment for Earth Observation Satellites (IMGEOS) which aims at efficient multi-mission data acquisition and processing mechanism for improved turn-around-time for products delivery. The primary aim of IMGEOS is automation of services, leading to quick response time.
The next thing on NRSC’s agenda was faster download time from any global location, consolidation of data from all NRSC portals for unified access, balance load in area of traffic for uninterrupted download of data.
Talking about advancements in outreach and updates on ISRO grounds stations, Dr Jain said the Antartica ground station of the NRSC, which would be for acquiring global data, would be fully operational in the next two to three weeks.
Indian space programme was unique because it addressed the national developmental programmes, said P.G. Diwakar, Director, Earth Observation Systems, while listing out the services offered by the constellation of Indian satellites in space. “The way we have named the satellites – Resourcesat , Cartosat , Oceansat etc — only tells how we have taken consideration of each social segment. We have been looking at natural resources, social programmes, mapping for use by various ministries, contributing towards Bharat Nirman, natural disaster management. Reaching the community is the bottomline of this programme,” he said, adding that all central and state government users were NRSC users as were researchers and academia, private industry and the international community.
The XII Plan has laid down a very ambitious programme for ISRO – 58 space missions, including sending spacecraft to moon and Mars, an exclusive satellite to keep a round-the-clock watch on the country and deployment 500 transponders in the next five years. “While SARAL is will go up next week, we will have Cartosat 2E, Oceansat 3 and Resourcesat 2A soon,” Diwakar said.
The space agency will put into orbit an Indo-French collaborative satellite SARAL on February 25. The launch will take place from Sriharikota.
Source: Our Correspondent