“Map the earth to enrich the globe”

Dec 2006 | Comments Off on “Map the earth to enrich the globe”

Mapping Geothermal potential

In 2005, I visited Iceland a volcanic island, a small European country with highest per capita income in the Atlantic Ocean with the population of 300,000 people. This island has unique phenomena of terrain having volcanoes and earthquakes. This situation has been converted into an advantage by that nation by discovering the geothermal resources at 2 kms depth. These resources provide both hot water and steam. The steam is used for generation of electricity and supply to many parts of the island and the hot water is supplied for heating the homes. We found the cartographers have mapped the island with all its ridges, the volcanic and earthquake prone regions, geothermal resources of the future and its marine resources. Of course they use satellite imagery to locate the school of various types of fishes. May I suggest to the cartographers, to map the geothermal resources in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, of the total 300 islands I understand one or two islands are having active volcanoes. Also, Himalayan states may have tremendous geothermal potential. These are also required to be mapped in a time bound manner.

Technology enabled cartography

To address all the inputs needed for the above programmes, we need to use the latest scientific technologies and tools. In this context, the application of Information Technology in the form of GIS, Satellite Remote Sensing, Satellite photo-grammatry, satellite communication and Internet play a vital role. India has planned for a series of satellites specifically for cartographic applications. The first in the series, CARTOSAT-I launched in May 2005 is the first high resolution satellite that collects the details of terrain surface in stereo mode with the spatial resolution of 2.5 meters. As of today, I understand that more than 90% of the country is covered with stereo images. These images could also be used for better urban planning, cadastral level information of land and water resources. This satellite mission has enabled developing Digital Elevation Model (DEM) This elevation model is useful in GIS environment, providing a terrain model to facilitate drainage network analysis, watershed demarcation, erosion mapping, contour generation and quantitative analysis like locationdistance- area-volume calculation. The DEM could also provide scene simulation and fly through visualization of the terrain. I am happy to note that Department of Space has launched a mission called CARTODEM for generating DEM of entire country using indigenously developed software package. The elevation accuracy of DEM will be better than eight meter. It is expected that in the middle of next year, major part of our country will be covered by DEM. Such an input should be made use of effectively by the Cartographers of the country for generating quality input data for PURA planning, design and development of state level waterways, urban planning and disaster management. As you may be aware, CARTOSAT-II is to be launched in January 2007 capable of collecting the terrain features with better than one meter spatial resolution. I am sure that the country will have satellites for acquiring details at sub meter level in the next five years.

Advances in Computer Sciences and space technologies, today provide us the capability not only to integrate diverse data sets but also with real time communication of data from far flung areas. Referencing of these data sets to their geographical locations has given rise to a powerful Geographical Information System (GIS) which is finding increasing use in almost every facet of our day to day life, be it as administrator or as planner or as executive monitoring a project or a tourist finding his way through navigation systems. These applications demand dynamic integration and visualization which in turn provide challenges to the cartographer as to how to integrate and process the data in real time and provide the visualization of out put as per user requirement. Yet another challenge to be addressed by the cartographic community is how do we ensure data integrity, interoperability and accuracy while fusing data from disparate data sources. Also advances in other technologies like GPS, mobile telephones, digital cartography, and photogrammatry will complement the cartographers in their endeavours for national development.

Journey from the mind to the market

President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has put forward a framework called ‘World Knowledge Platform’ while inaugurating the second conference on ‘India R&D 2006: Mind to Market’. Dr Kalam said this platform will integrate the core competencies of the partner countries to develop knowledge products and will enable joint design, development, cost effective production and marketing of the knowledge products in various domains. He said initially the mission of world knowledge platform is to connect and network the R&D institutions, universities and industries using fiber broadband from the partner nations on selected R&D missions. The President said that fiber optics connectivity across the world is only waiting to be lighted up, which will make the world borderless. He said mission of world knowledge platform will be to take up the mission in some of the following areas which are of utmost urgency to make our world a safe, sustainable and peaceful and prosperous to live in. Focusing on energy, agriculture and food processing he said the other areas are water, healthcare, knowledge products, automobile and traditional medicines.

Missions for Cartographers

Since I am in the midst of Cartographers, I thought of giving the following six missions relevant to Vision 2020 for immediate implementation.

1. Creating a network of all organizations and cartographers participating in this Congress so that they can interface and provide inputs for the development of modern cartographic products required for national development missions.

2. Bringing out large scale maps using advanced technologies for various national development programmes like PURA, interlinking of rivers, survey/resurvey of cadasters, Urban development, metro rail, water ways.

3. Provide cartographic inputs to drought, flood and earthquake prone areas to the disaster management teams for effective planning of disaster management delivery system.

4. Making available high resolution digital maps produced in India and placing the maps on website thereby creating virtual Earth for India for easy access to its citizens in a time bound manner with suitable policies and adequate security mechanism.

5. Identifying wastelands which are essential to take up Jatropha cultivation for bio diesel production. Cartographers should come out in identifying the exact quantum of wasteland available in the country and help the government and farmers for enabling the Jatropha cultivation.

6. Training and building a human resource team which can face the cartographic challenges of the twenty first century.

Cartography has come a long way from the days of Ptolemy and is playing a major role in our lives through new technologies such as GIS, GPS. I am told that most of the mapping of the western world is done in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. There is a need for a campaign to increase the awareness of the common man regarding utility of geospatial data and its use. Cartographic community has a key role to play in national development and I am sure you will provide value added services to all national missions.

With these words, I inaugurate the 26th Congress of Indian National Cartographic Association and my best wishes to all the participants’ for success in their mission of providing quality cartographic products to the needy.

May God bless you.


My coordinates
Mark your calendar
May 09 TO DECEMBER 2009

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