Soon, a map of In­dia, down to the last gully

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

Bengaluru: An am­bi­tious drone-based dig­i­tal map­ping project is un­der way to cre­ate a more ac­cu­rate and re­al­is­tic view of ev­ery nook and cor­ner of the coun­try.

Work be­gan in Kar­nataka, Haryana, Ma­ha­rash­tra and the Ganga basin a few months ago. The project is be­ing un­der­taken by Sur­vey of In­dia, with the sup­port of depart­ment of science and tech­nol­ogy (DST) and in­puts from sev­eral govern­ment agen­cies like Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia and For­est Sur­vey of In­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to DST sec­re­tary Ashutosh Sharma, the map will have a higher res­o­lu­tion than Google Maps. A project on such a large scale is be­ing ex­e­cuted for the first time after al­most two cen­turies — it was back in 1767 when British sur­vey­ors Colonel Sir Ge­orge Ever­est and his pre­de­ces­sor Wil­liam Lambton first sci­en­tif­i­cally mapped the coun­try.

“Dig­i­tal map­ping has never been done. This com­pre­hen­sive map will show the ex­act state, district and coun­try bound­aries,” Sharma told me­dia at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Science on Mon­day.

He said that five years ago, the gar­gan­tuan project would have cost the govern­ment Rs 10,000 crore but is now ex­pected to be com­pleted at Rs 1,000 crore and with de­ploy­ment of far more ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy. “We have picked states based on their en­thu­si­asm for the project. For in­stance, Haryana will fund it com­pletely, and for the Ganga basin the Na­mami Gange agency will share the cost,” Sharma said.

The map will be avail­able in a pub­lic fo­rum with fea­tures high­light­ing hospi­tals, canals, and other de­tails. Sur­vey of In­dia has set ref­er­ence points called Con­tin­u­ously Op­er­ated Ref­er­ence Sta­tions (CORS) net­works at in­ter­vals of 20km across In­dia, which in­crease ac­cu­racy by 10 times as well as pro­vide in­stant on­line 3D po­si­tion­ing, he said.

With sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in the en­deav­our, ex­ten­sive ground­work will be done to match the aerial find­ings of drones. “Cit­i­zens will be able to make in­formed choices while buy­ing prop­er­ties. The map will help them un­der­stand… its ac­ces­si­bil­ity among other de­tails,” Sharma ex­plained. He said the map should be out by 2024.

Of­fi­cials plan to pro­vide a ro­bust base map which will be de­vel­oped and up­dated with ev­ery lit­tle change.

The am­bi­tious drone-based dig­i­tal map­ping pro­jected is ex­pected to be com­pleted by 2024

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