Kathmandu, Nepal: Dr Tank Ojha, a Nepali researcher with the University of Arizona in the US claimed to have developed the most exhaustive GIS database for Nepal on his own. Dr Ojha — a one-time officer with the Department of Mines and Geology, who, in his own words, was kicked out of the department by his seniors — has incorporated soil maps, geomorphological maps, land use maps, digital topographical maps, geological maps and seismicity maps for the whole country.
In addition, Dr Ojha, whose son Lujendra recently hogged headlines by becoming the first to spot signs of possible brine water flow during the warmer months on Mars, claimed to have developed the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the whole country. A DEM represents the earth´s surface and includes all objects on it.
“With the comprehensive display of slopes and altitude, DEM can be used to assess anything: from seeing whether a proposed irrigation canal in the hills will work to whether children from surrounding villages can climb a school built on a hilltop. It is an indispensable tool for local area planning,” President of Nepal GIS Society Dr Krishna Poudel explained adding that Nepal GIS Society has no knowledge of anyone else developing a DEM model in Nepal. “It is great that Dr Ojha has a sequential data of the country at a time when we have almost nothing,” he comments on Dr Ojha´s database.
Dr Ojha´s database is yet to be tested for accuracy by any government agency as it is prepared by a person but he claimed that it is accurate and instead insists the topographic database developed by Survey Department in GIS format has serious technical issues and cannot be used to solve real life problems.
“I have digitised paper copy topographical, geological, and seismological maps and extracted land use maps from satellite images. I, with help from other colleagues from the University of Arizona, have done extensive geological mapping to develop a reliable geological database,” he elaborated the development of his database which he says is still being further developed.
“In other words, the database contains maps, charts, tables, published literature, and unpublished reports. With just a click in the map area of your interest it will navigate you through all the supporting maps tables charts and texts,” he added. He claimed that his database can be used for anything from construction of hydropower projects, to roads and even factories saving millions of rupees.
Commenting on Dr Ojha’s claim, Dr Poudel stated that Nepal GIS Society is planning to work with Dr Ojha, who spent nearly half a year doing research in Nepal, and they have recently submitted a big proposal to National Science Foundation of USA on natural hazard mitigation and sustainable agricultural issues for funding.