Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bhuvan now comes out with interactive thematic maps: Better features than Google Earth

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Bhuvan, Isro’s answer to Google Earth, has just got
better. The Isro’s geoportal is now loaded with new features that make
the Google Earth obsolete as far as earth observation data about India
is concerned. In fact, it has overtaken its international rival in
several features.

The new Bhuvan provides information not only about the earth, but also
about what lies beneath it, in the form of hidden minerals resources.
The new thematic services facilitate users to select, browse and query
the thematic datasets from Bhuvan. One can download the information
for personal use.

The Bhuvan team has included digital land use, land cover (LULC)
facility, which provides data and statistics about any district, city
or state in India. One can get information at the click of mouse on
urban and rural lands, mining, agriculture, fallow and uncultivable
lands, shifting cultivation, forest cover, grass lands, salt-affected
and ravenous lands, sandy soils, barren rocky areas, water bodies and
wet and waste lands. It also gives data on how much of land is under
what type of utilization and whether the land under agriculture or
forests had increased or decreased over the years.

For instance, the digital LULC shows that only 0.09 per cent of land
in Andhra Pradesh is under evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. The
rest of land under the control of the forest department is either
forest plantations or deciduous or scrub jungles. About eight per cent
of the State’s land is uncultivable and is affected by salinity and
rocky terrain.

Unlike in Google Earth, Bhuvan has introduced a discussion forum
wherein people can hold discussions, converse, participate and brain
storm ideas. The National Remote Sensing Centre in Hyderabad
constantly updates the information about the natural resources in the
country obtained through remote sensing satellites. To begin with, the
thematic data at present is based on the satellite info obtained
during 2005-2006. The data will be updated in the coming days,
according to the Bhuvan team.

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