Survey of India using new technologies for mapping and data generation

In an innovative effort to use new technology to make mapping activities easier and more efficient, Survey of India (SoI), the national mapping agency (NMA) of the country under the Ministry of Science & Technology plans to use professional grade drones for Large scale Mapping (LSM) in the country. In this endeavor, SoI has undertaken mapping of the Village Gaothan (Aabadi) areas in the State of Maharashtra covering more than 40,000 villages. Similarly, drone based mapping for five districts of the State of Karnataka for revenue department including village, semi-urban and urban areas has also been undertaken by the SoI. SoI has also initiated LSM mapping for complete state of Haryana using drone technology.

These village Gaothan areas in Maharashtra have not been surveyed earlier and no revenue records for these areas are available with the state government. These village areas will be mapped at 1:500 scale covering all land parcels in the village for preparing the accurate revenue maps and GIS database. Orthorectified image base maps at 1:500 scale with an accuracy of ± 10 cm will be prepared first, followed with GIS data preparation as per state requirements. Drone survey will be pivotal to fix locations of village boundaries, canals, canal limits, agriculture field limits and roads in these villages.

In its assigned role as the nation's Principal Mapping Agency, Survey of India bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country's domain is explored and mapped suitably, provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute with their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come. National Map Policy (NMP), 2005 mandates SoI to prepare, maintain and update the National Topographic database (NTDB) of the country comprising datasets of National Spatial Reference Framework (NSRF), National Digital Elevation Model (DEM), National Topographic Template, Administrative boundaries, Toponymy (Place names).

SoI prepares two series of maps out of NTDB—the Open Series Map (OSM): For civilian uses or open uses and the Defense Series Map (DSM): For defence uses only.

The organization has recently taken up several projects using latest geospatial technology for faster and accurate mapping of the country as per the requirements of user Ministries and Organizations under flagship projects of Government of India directly benefiting the citizens of the country. In year, 2018 SoI has launched web portals for Public and Government departments and organizations to facilitate the access of the digital map or data to every citizen of the country and Centre and State organizations with the objective to enable decision making for planning, development, monitoring and governance. These web portals are providing various web access options of the available NTDB data for open uses for the convenience and benefits of the SoI users. In order to involve more and more people, agencies, institutes, firms for updation of the NTDB attribute data using crowd sourcing technology, SoI has also provided a free to use mobile app “SAHYOG” and is available on our website as well as Google Play store for download and use.

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G2G Web portal:

SoI has undertaken various initiatives for modernization and upgradation og the Geodetic Infrastructure of the country. In this process, it has redefined, modernized and launched the beta version of the new Indian vertical Datum (IVD2009) in year 2018 based on precise field gravity values, High precision leveling and decade long tidal observations along both the coasts of India in line with best practices prevalent in other leading countries of the world in the field of Geodesy. Earlier version was defined in 1905 without gravity observations and use of sophisticated instruments.

The National Mapping agency is in the process of developing the high resolution Geoid model of the country with accuracy of ± 10 cm to obtain the accurate orthometric heights in Mean Sea level (MSL) for developmental projects, River basin management, Flood forecasting, Urban mapping, inundation mapping etc. It has initiated the ambitious project to establish the Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) Network in the country under various partnerships with Centre and State government projects, as this Geo-spatial Infrastructure will facilitate location information of centimeter (cm) level accuracy in real-time across the country which will provide major boost to GoI initiatives like Smart City, Digital India, DILRMP, Urban Planning and Development.

SoI has also undertaken the National projects like National Hydrology project (NHP) and Namami Gange to generate the accurate high resolution DEM for water management of all the River Basins of the India. To be abreast with the new technology in mapping SoI is adopting LIDAR and UAV technologies in upcoming new projects. It is also in the process of implementing the state of art technologies available in the industry to improve the workflows in order to capture accurate, cost effective and timely Geo-spatial Data, to meet the needs of sustainable national development.

The Survey of India was set up in 1767 and has evolved rich traditions over the years. The history of the Survey of India dates back to the 18th Century. Bit by bit the tapestry of Indian terrain was completed by the painstaking efforts of a distinguished line of Surveyors such as Mr. Lambton and Sir George Everest. The great Trigonometric series spanning the country from North to South East to West are some of the best geodetic control series available in the world. The scientific principles of surveying have since been augmented by the latest technology to meet the multidisciplinary requirement of data from planners and scientists.

Organized into only 5 Directorates in 1950, Department has now grown and spread in all parts of the country with its 8 x zonal offices and 22 Geo-spatial Data Centres covering 29 states and 7 UT’s along with 3 Printing Groups and 6 Specialised Directorates providing the basic map coverage required for the development of the country. Its technology, latest in the world, has been oriented to meet the needs of defense forces, planners and scientists in the field of geo-sciences, land and resource management. Its expert advice is being utilized by various Ministries and undertakings of Govt. of India in many sensitive areas including settlement of International borders, State boundaries and in assisting planned development of hitherto under developed areas.

Faced with the requirement of digital topographical data, the department has created three Digital Centers during late eighties to generate Digital Topographical Data Base for the entire country for use in various planning processes and creation of geographic information system. Its specialized Directorates such as Geodetic and Research Branch, and Indian Institute of Surveying & Mapping (erstwhile Survey Training Institute) have been further strengthened to meet the growing requirement of user community. The department is also assisting in many scientific programs of the Nation related to the field of geo-physics, remote sensing and digital data transfers.

With new technologies and purpose, Survey of India is marching towards more comprehensive mapping of the country and better access of maps for people.