GIS technology in for big thrust

HYDERABAD, JULY 6. The technology of geographical information system (GIS) is in for a big thrust in the country. The Union Government has set up a resource centre named "National Spatial Data Infrastructure" to work under the Ministry of Science and Technology for coordinating various activities aimed at promotion of GIS and offer of services to user agencies.

This was disclosed by Dr R. R. Navalgund, Director for National Remote Sensing Agency, here while delivering the inaugural address at the second day session of the three-day conference of GIS India, being held at the Institution of Engineers by Digital India. He said the new centre would have four components to accomplish its mission -- remote-sensing, internet, GIS and geographical positioning system -- and the services under each of them would be made available to the State Governments/user agencies for formulation and execution of development plans. His own organisation would play the role of facilitator, he said.

Dr D. P. Rao, former NRSA director and recipient of the Padmasri award, who released the latest issue of "GIS India", said GIS was the order of the day the world over, in terms of the information required from different sources for micro-level planning and there was "tremendous improvement" in GIS opportunities available in the country.

Mr Robert Barr, an expert from the University of Manchester, UK, who delivered the keynote address, said there was a large GIS potential available in East European and Asian countries which were sure to end the western "arrogance and dominance" in software. He could foresee it because of trained workforce, manpower, local technologies and command of the English language which were all available in plenty in these countries.

He said GIS, which was now considered Anglo-American technology, might soon be the property of these nations also, doing away with the established East-West differences. On the other hand, there would be western downfall owing to what he called bureaucratic inertia, innovation fatigue and flight from science and technology.

Mr B. V. R.Mohan Reddy, president, Infotech Enterprises, who delivered another keynote address, traced out the GIS growth in the country with special reference to Andhra Pradesh. He said GIS was all the more relevant to the State as a lot of development was to take place in the fields of power, water, sewer lines, traffic flow management and hazard mitigation plan. The GIS was in such a position, he said, that it would be able to indicate the timing of a burglary in an area prone to crimes.

A highlight of the conference attended by delegates from the US, the UK, Canada, Malaysia and the UAE, was an exhibition on GIS techniques put up by different software firms, inaugurated by Dr Navalgund. The show, to be held on Saturday also, had different stalls from where the firms presented an update of the tools and systems available in the market for formulating GIS. Almost all of them displayed maps, measured to a particular scale, developed digitally out of the data procured from remote-sensing satellites, aerial photos and even household surveys. There were GIS maps showing forest wealth, cultivable lands, minute details of particular areas in a municipal towns and Hyderabad, spread of mineral deposits etc. Books printed by a company indicating the different facets of Hyderabad, say lakes and growth of constructions, is on sale for Rs 120.

Mr G. S. Kumar, vice-chairman, organising committee, welcomed the gathering. Prof Afzal Mohammad, Vice-Chancellor, Dr B. R. Ambedkar Open University, presided over the conference while Mr P. Satyanarayana, organising secretary, Digital India, proposed a vote of thanks.