Mapping of utilities, a tool to identify gaps in civic amenities, may soon cover more areas in major cities, including Chennai, with the National Informatics Centre planning to suggest measures for suitable modifications to the Ministry of Defence guidelines on digital map data handling.
This follows an appeal to this effect to the NIC from officials of the civic bodies of Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, at a meeting in New Delhi last week. The officials pointed to the existing restrictions pertaining to various aspects of geo-reference maps, starting with collecting and disseminating information about certain areas and facilities.
Sources in the Chennai Corporation said that though it was unlikely that all restrictions would be removed, on account of strategic reasons, there are some areas where an amount of freedom can be expected. A more detailed digital map, they added, would help plan civic amenities better.
The benefit of any change in the Defence Ministry guidelines is expected to be more pronounced for the expanded areas of Chennai since the digital mapping project is yet to be launched there. Moreover, many of these areas also host sensitive installations.
The utility mapping is used for improving solid waste management, roads, traffic management and infrastructure development and helps in preparing plans at the ward level. Apart from Chennai Corporation, various agencies in the city have initiated digital mapping projects, including for disaster preparedness and urban planning and development.
The Corporation is also developing a Geographical Information System (GIS) based on the digital mapping.
As the Corporation has been expanded from 174 sq km to 426 sq km, there is an urgent need of data pertaining to digital mapping of the urban landscape for better planning and improvement of civic amenities, sources added.