Top Indian ISRO scientist-surveyor LRA Narayan passes away

Top Indian ISRO scientist-surveyor LRA Narayan passes away

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India: Eminent geospatial scientist Lt. Col. (Dr.) L.R.A. Narayan passed away on Feb. 6, 2016 in Chennai. Dr. Narayan was the first Director of the Application Division of the National Remote Sensing Agency at Hyderabad, and has made extraordinary contributions in the fields of surveying, cartography, photogrammetry and remote sensing applications.

One of his most notable feats was the extensive surveying and mapping in the treacherous north eastern parts of the country during the Chinese aggression. Dr. Narayan also delved into major environmental issues, developing new methods for wasteland mapping and ground water assessment. During the Rajiv Gandhi regime, his unique mapping program in various States helped to identify 146 districts covering 40% of the geographical area of the country.

In 2002, Dr. Narayan became the third recipient of the Bhaskara Award, instituted by the Indian Society of Remote Sensing (ISRS), Department of Space. He has also received the prestigious Schwidefsky Medal from the International Society of Photogrammetry in Vienna (1996) and Amsterdam (2000).

Dr. Narayan authored as many as 60 articles on remote sensing for leading English daily, The Hindu. These articles have been compiled into a book, Remote Sensing and Its Applications, and are considered a must-read for those interested in mapping, management and monitoring of our natural resources.

The news of his death has pained all those who knew him. Former Head of NRDMS and NSDI, Department of Space, Siva Kumar, says, “Dr. Narayan was great visionary. He conceived and nurtured a number of great institutions. His contribution in the field of remote sensing helped the world in general, and India in particular, to utilize this technology for development and security. His work in Survey of India, especially field surveys in the North East under trying circumstances in the ’60s of last century is etched in history. His regular column in The Hindu and books on remote sensing will continue to guide present day geospatial professionals. I consider him as Father of Remote Sensing in India.”

Former Director IIRS, Dr. Parth Sarathi Roy, avers, “[Dr. Narayan] was in true sense remote sensing application leader. I had the opportunity to work with him. He was a great motivator. He made a very significant t contribution to IPI (present IIRS). He built the remote sensing application wing of NRSA (now known as NRSC). I was witness to his efforts to convince user community for adopting the new technology. He was very witty, straight forward and true leader.”

Geospatial World magazine’s Managing Editor Prof. Arup Dasgupta, who has served ISRO as deputy director of satellite communication and information technology, says, “Another majestic tree falls. Dr. LRA Narayan was an institution by himself. We had delightful conversations on many topics, including GIS and remotes. I admired the way he kept himself busy after retirement. Whenever we met, his first question to me was, ‘What are you doing?’. I remember many years ago, I was quite new to remote sensing, when the late Dr. T.A. Hariharan called me to ask if I would help him organize the INCA conference in Ahmadabad. I agreed and Dr. LRA N Narayan was a pillar of strength and support in my efforts. At the end he declared, ‘This is the way we should conduct scientific conferences’. I could not have asked for a better certificate. He was a scientist and raconteur, jovial and pragmatic. I will miss him.”

Source: Our correspondent