Blueprint of Rs. 160-crore Karnataka GIS getting ready

Imagine our planners and decision-makers being able to click and “see” remote spots in Bidar or Raichur from their desks in Bangalore before they sanction a tank work, industry, road or pipeline there.

The day is not too distant when Karnataka will have digitised satellite-beamed maps and images of its cities, wastelands, forests, water tanks, mineral bearing areas and almost all public assets.

The State is readying the blueprint of a Rs. 160-crore Karnataka GIS (geographical information system), according to the Director of the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC), D.K. Prabhuraj.

The KSRSAC will also launch a G2G (government-to-government) portal in July and is developing application software to enable officials to use all its satellite picture information from this portal.

At a meeting in New Delhi in May, State government officials presented the proposal to the Department of Science and Technology and hope to get 50 per cent funds from it for the project, Dr. Prabhuraj told The Hindu.

The State, along with Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Orissa, is slated to formally put up its plan again in the last week of June before the Finance and key Central sanctioning Ministries. KGIS can be in place three years after receiving finance, he said.

System of the future

Satellite imagery-based information will become common in the coming years and will speed up planning and decision-making from several weeks to a few days; it will also be more precise than field surveys, besides stopping duplication of assets in the same place, he said.

Also, departments like Rural Development and Panchayat Raj which pump in large sums into projects need such a quick-find system as they like to know where the money is going, according to KSRSAC scientists B.P. Lakshmikantha and K. Ashoka Reddy.

The State RDPR Department gets the highest budget of around Rs. 8,000 crore.

KGIS also fits into a national roadmap, the NGIS, and is the first to be off the mark among the five States that the Department of Information Technology has chosen for its launch.

The Centre has earmarked Rs. 13,000 crore to support the entire NGIS during the ongoing 12th Five-Year Plan.

District resources data

Since it was started in 1986 as a tie-up between the Department of Space and the State government, the 250-staff KSRSAC has worked on numerous State projects related to rural development, mining, watershed, and village housing.

It recently completed a high-resolution land resources information system for Mysore and a natural resources assessment map of Bellary district showing its 142 mining lease areas, boundaries and encroachments.

Currently it has a Rs. 10-crore project from the Planning Department to map public assets such as tanks and government land in Dharwad, Shimoga and Tumkur; the project may extend to other districts.

During the Global Investors Meet of 2012, imagery-based information proved handy to find sites suitable for prospective investors. It clearly showed the places to avoid: government lands, highways and wetlands. Wastelands and potential locations for wind energy projects have been mapped. Among users of KSRSAC’s databases are NGOs who frequently seek information on land use.

Databases

“We have generated voluminous databases all these years. The next task is to integrate all of them, standardise and update them using latest remote-sensing data,” Dr. Prabhuraj said.

State will soon have digitised satellite-beamed maps and images of its cities, wastelands, forests, water tanks, mineral bearing areas and almost all public assets.