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Bhuvan – Support to Uttarakhand disaster

Jan 2014 | No Comment

The efforts of providing near real time services on Bhuvan in disaster management support has been noteworthy, specially considering the series of disasters in 2013

Dr V K Dadhwal

Director, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad, India

Bhuvan (, a unique geoportal of NRSC that provide diversified geospatial services, is gaining popularity day by day and is much appreciated for its dynamic services. Initiated in 2009, Bhuvan has grown up rapidly and has made its impact on Indian user community. Expanding it’s state-ofart facilities and a datacentre at Hyderabad, Bhuvan is now extending geographically with its distributed architecture. This expansion plan goes hand in hand with the increased usage. Developed , using open source software and OGC compliant services, it has now grown to cater to various facets of applications including planning and development. Bhuvan has played a critical role in providing near real time information on the recent disasters in the public domain. Specific updates carried out on Bhuvan during 2013 and also the role played by Bhuvan in multi-institution projects like ‘Map the neighbourhood in Uttarakhand’ (MANU) is also highlighted here.

Bhuvan geoportal with 2D and 3D display capabilities is organized as visualization, Services and Application portal of NRSC. The various recent updates in developments and facilities created under three broad areas are summarized here –

Bhuvan visualization

Understanding the basic information needs for diversified sections of Bhuvan users, Bhuvan has now included Map and Terrain backdrops in addition to satellite and hybrid view in its prime 2D viewer . This has expanded the use of Bhuvan for variety of applications because of its sheer usefulness.

Similarly, to widen the user base and to provide better user experience Bhuvan 2D interface has been redesigned. It is also optimized for reducing network load and larger viewer space for map display.

Bhuvan’s prime focus is building applications towards societal benefit. In order to value add the images and maps, the ground level information is key requirement. With its national reach in carrying out projects in remote sensing area and making frequent ground surveys, the vast amount field information is gathered , this is being now disseminated through field photograph section as additional layers of information collating all field data. This field data is also strengthened with field data collected through crowd sourcing (Public and Controlled).

Further, high resolution datasets with 1 meter resolution are made available in 2D, 3D for 41 cities to meet the user demand.

Bhuvan services

The key area of Bhuvan is dissemination of diversified products and services. Bhuvan comes up with following update in services –

Ocean Services’ is enabled for visualizing data received from Moored Buoys, Waverider Buoys & Agro Floats of INCOIS, Hyderabad apart from earlier available PFZ.

i. ‘Disaster Services’ has been strengthened and continuous support has been provided through Bhuvan for Uttarakhand disaster, Floods in other states due to heavy rainfall and inundated areas during Cyclones like Phailin, Leher.

ii. Initiated Data support for international Disasters under ISRO DMSP program. Provided satellite data visualisation and download support under various International Disaster programmes (International Charter Space and Major Disasters to international Disaster events, Sentinel Asia Framework, UN-SPIDER and UNESCAP)

iii. Bhuvan NOEDA updated with temporal datasets of AWiFS and LISS III, improved 2nd version of CartoDEM and added download facility for IMS-1 (Hyper Spectral Imager) and NICES products (Model derived 26deg isotherm Model derived TCHP, Near real time TCHP, Near real time Ocean Heat Content etc).

iv. Thematic services are updated with multi-thematic contents: LULC-50K (2011-12), Geomorphology, Lineament, Land Use 10K from SIS-DP Project.

Bhuvan applications

A number of versatile applications encompassing variety of tools and OGC compliant web services have been launched:

• Municipal WebGIS for Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is released with detailed data on ward and plot level boundaries, visualisation and various location based services.

• Satellite based monitoring of irrigation projects (Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program – AIBP) for Central Water Commisison : 103 Projects completed under AIBP Phase I & II are hosted as inventory of irrigation projects, while AIBP Phase III portal is developed for monitoring of ongoing irrigation infrastructure development by CWC officials, it is kind of virtual GIS laboratory.

• Himachal Pradesh Forest monitoring portal provides forest assets management enabling users to visualize up to beat level forest boundaries, Greening India Mission assets, Climate Vulnerability data with SMS alert facility on forest fire for forest officials up to beat level.

• Agriculture Pest/Disease Surveillance application allows users to share, access and upload the pests and disease related information in a near real time basis towards making the data available to experts for advisory while Plantations section gives the inventory of natural rubber plantation (commercial crop) and identifying potential wastelands for expanding area under rubber plantations.

• Collaborative Mapping (Students’ collaboration from Vijayawada) enabled users to collect various users’ interest information of Vijayawada using Mobile based application and visualise it on Bhuvan on various tourism interest.

• Urban Growth monitoring showcases the growth of the urban areas of Bangalore, Cochin, Mysore and Coimbatore over last decade or so.

• Tourism Application with new datasets of Hampi, Badami, Nalanda & Vijayawada and improved datasets of Amritsar providing tourist information with Bhuvan satellite data to overcome the limited details available in the traditional paper maps or difficulty in searching for a place of interest.

• Bhuvan – Panchayat : SISP DP status viewer is released with status of mapping done for roads, rail, drainage and landuse at 1:10k for various states towards e-governance

• Kumbh Mela application showcased the time series data of the Sangam area and facilitated the data download for various scientific and planning actitivties.

• Sports portal allowed users to visualise the stadiums of various sports i.e. Cricket, Hockey, Football, Badminton, Golf and related information as well having the facility to showcase the events. IPL-2013 and IBL-2013 related event details were active and attractive among the users during the events.

• Oceansat-2 Scatterometer (OSCAT) Virtual Reality is a plugin free 3D viewer developed using open source solutions enabled the users to visualize Oceansat scatterometer global data. Time series visulaistion planned using OSCAT data will enable the new paradigm to understand various dynamics of the features.

Bhuvan supports Crowd Sourcing;

Major efforts in the recent times has been on enabling controlled crowd sourcing for registered users on Bhuvan platform (Add Content option for Point of Interest (POI) data collection; Web based Mapping for POI, Roads, Rails and polygon feature; Field Data/POI data – Point, Line, Polygon Collection through Android App for smart phones, having custom features to tweak to any specific sector and successfully made operational in Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre, Mapping the Neighborhood in Uttarakhand-MANU, Vijayawada GIS etc). Bhuvan-Mapper is developed as a cross platform and browser independent web based mapping editor using open source solutions with rich graphical user interface and crowd sourcing tools for collecting data on point locations, Line and Polygon features with highly customized attribute fields. It opens the possibility of use of web based editor for a range of applications involving mapping/ tagging of the geographical data.

The efforts of providing near real time services on Bhuvan in disaster management support has been noteworthy, specially considering the series of disasters in 2013. A brief account of Uttarakhand disaster and the Mapping the Neighborhood in Uttarakhand program is provided here.

MANU : Initiative for Uttarakhand reconstruction

The Central Higher Himalayan region of Uttarakhand received extreme rainfall to the order of about 350 mm/ day during 15th – 17th June 2013 causing flooding, toe erosion, debris flows and landslides in upper the catchments of the rivers originating from this segment.

The extreme rainfall that started on the 15th of June and continued for three days causing sporadic flash-flood like events, probably due to the burst of accumulated water bodies by unstable glacial moraine. This phenomenon was observed near Kedarnath temple where the moraine material of the Chaurabari glacier caused temporary ponding upstream of the Kedarnath temple and which later breached causing severe damage to the Holy Shrine of Kedarnath, killing thousands of people and causing damage to the settlements downstream in the Mandakini valley.

This extreme rainfall caused severe damage in the area resulting in loss of precious lives, damage to roads, bridges and culverts, destruction of houses and agricultural areas and hydropower projects.

One of the prime reasons for the damage was the slope destabilization associated with the rainfall causing numerous landslides, toe-erosion and debris flow in the catchments of Alakananda, Bhagirathi, Mandakini and Yamuna. Rainfall being one of the prime triggering factors of the landslides in the Himalayan region, the high intensity rainfall events initiated new landslides and re-activated many old landslides. The downpour also caused huge amounts of debris from steep, upstream catchments to be removed, mixed with water forming debris flow which accentuates the damage on its course. NRSC carried out the inventory of landslides post this extreme rainfall event and mapped about 5000 landslides in the catchments of Alakananda, Bhagirathi and Mandakini.

Map the Neighbourhood in Uttarakhand (MANU); the multi-institutional programme has been initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, primarily to map the extent of devastation and damage associated with this extreme rainfall event in Char-Dham (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) and Pinder Valley areas, covering about 8000 sq km. National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) has played a pioneer role under this program for enabling crowdsourcing /collaborative mapping through Bhuvan Portal and mobie mapping application. While Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun along with NRSC, Survey of India has been instrumental in capacity building the field teams.

The Mobile application developed by NRSC is used for reporting the damages in Char Dham area. The hill universities/ institutes have participated in field data collection and have executed the uphill task of assessing the physical situation in the field and uploaded vital information on Bhuvan portal. Bhuvan-MANU collaboration portal which was developed for facilitating field data collection through Mobile devices and Bhuvan-Mapper web applications are widely used for this purpose. The online validation mechanism has been established on Bhuvan through experts who validate the data received through this crowd sourcing mechanism. The landslides’ attributes like type of slide, the rock type and the damage caused are captured during the field campaign and are validated prior to posting on Bhuvan. The online 3D visualization of Char Dham area is created on Bhuvan for terrain understanding. For better communication among the teams, mentors and experts discussion forum has been specifically create for MANU team.

The training of MANU teams have aroused lot of interest amongst youth and younger generation . They have been trained for map reading, using mobile applications in the field, global positioning systems and improvement of location coordinates with GAGAN based positioning system, use of total station etc. ISRO (NRSC and IIRS) in association with Survey of India (SOI) has trained 130 students and 19 faculty/ scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), HNB Garhwal University (HNBGU) and Kumaun University (KU). The training was conducted at IIRS in two batches during 27-29 September and 3-5 October, 2013. The field parties from WIHG, HNBGU and KU are in the process of data collection in Char-Dham and Pinder Valley after a week of training programme. The teams have made remarkable progress in surveying various valleys and over 15000 locations have been surveyed (till 31st Dec, 2013 ) by the MANU teams. They have collected information on damages to buildings, infrastructure (roads, bridges/ culverts, and other infrastructure) and have also identified landslide and river bank erosion areas. This data is ingested into Bhuvan, directly from field, and are made available on Bhuvan portal along with the field photograph and description after due validation of incoming data by experts

Such online data are of significant use and will be of great help for the local government to plan the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Uttarakhand.

It is also to be noted that In the aftermath of the devastating floods and landslides in Uttarakhand in June 2013, ISRO provided all possible support to the state government. This included satellite communication support in the inaccessible area through mobile terminals, providing value-added satellite images of pre- and post-disaster, online information through NDEM on VPN network and training the concerned officials from police, defence and civil administration. Towards providing communication support, 12 numbers of INSAT-MSS Type-D Terminals (Satellite phones) were deployed at different places in inaccessible areas after training the police personnel; DMS hub and user nodes using CExt 1.8m VSAT antennas were installed at Police HQ, Dehradun, Guptkashi, Badrinath, Barkot and Pithoragarh. Pre- and post-disaster satellite imagery (Resourcesat LISS-IV & Cartosat PAN merged image with details on landslides, trekking route, potential landslide locations, and settlement locations) and 3-D terrain view draped with post-disaster satellite image were provided to Air Force officials for rescue & relief operations and also to District Magistrate of Rudraprayag district.

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