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E-Pao! Essays - Remote Sensing and GIS - Application in Manipur

Remote Sensing and GIS - Application in Manipur
Applications In The Development Activities Of Manipur

By: Dr. Leishangthem Surjit Singh *



In a state like Manipur, where there are more hilly areas than plains and where there is the disadvantage of travel from one place to another to take up some development programme or to make an environmental survey, Remote Sensing has helped tremendously. Therefore, by taking the advantages of Remote Sensing, many developmental progresses can be made by the various government departments of Manipur.

In a less developed state like Manipur, remote Sensing centre will give much benefit. A layman may not know what remote sensing is? In simple terms, it is identifying the objects at a place where we can not reach, without going at that place. For example, we can easily know whether there are trees growing or human beings settled at a place beyond many ranges of hills with the help of remote sensing.

Till now, with help of remote sensing, we have been able to know about the various natural resources on the earth’s surface.

In this modern age, with the advantages of remote sensing, there will be much more progress. To set an example, in the forest department, we can easily identify the place where trees are growing, where there is no growth and where we can grow trees and crops.

In the field of agriculture too, we can know the crops grown at a particular place or which crops would be more suitable for growing at the place.

To dig a canal, to make new roads at a suitable place, to identify water resources or to select a place for digging tube-well, all there can be easily done through remote sensing.

Regarding how remote sensing works: - it is with the help of powerful cameras or sensors take photos of the surface of the earth and the required information can be taken from those photos. These cameras or sensors take the help of airplanes, balloons, helicopters or satellites as their platform. Nowadays, we have got sensors which can take a clear picture of very small objects, say about an area of 1 square meter.

Information technology, which we very often talk about, is also mainly the work of remote sensing. In our state also, in many government department, there is huge number of computer, it these computers are lacking information’s then, it won’t be wrong to say that those computers are simply typewriters.

If a planner or a decision maker is to plan about a certain place, he needs to know first the location, socio-economic conditions, means of transport and the required amenities (non-spatial data). He can easily plan about it on his computer screen sitting in his room with the help of remote sensing and GIS.

Taking an example, if a proposal is made to sanction loan / grant-in aid for planting trees in a far away hill district, it can be easily verified whether the place is available or not, without going at that place. This will reduce security problem and save time. Not only this, if a dispensary is to be set up in a hill district, informations regarding the available place for the dispensary, the population of the very area and the common disease that prevail in that place can be easily gathered using remote sensing and GIS.

Therefore, the planners and the head of departments will benefit much from remote sensing, which gives many advantages in every field. For this purpose, a database creation project named Natural resources information system has been taken up by Manipur Remote Sensing Applications Centre under the Department of Space Govt. of India in collaboration with North Eastern Space Applications Centre, Shillong (NSAC). The aim of this project is to have a visual discussion between the decision makers or planners and the farmers at the field to increase the products and to make progress in other development works.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has established a state Remote Sensing Centre in every state of India. Every Center has been supplied with a V-SAT. With the help of the V-SAT, a state-wise programme for all the states of India is conducted. The conducted programme is telecast live on the T.V., with the help of this V-SAT.

In that live programme, we can ask questions. For example, a farmer watching that programme can ask which crop would be more suitable to grow in his field, to yield better products. The resource person on the T.V. screen will ask the name and address of the farmer and then, his field will be shown on the screen, ei., the condition of the soil, area, availability of water, climate condition etc. and after discussing the above factors, he will advice the farmer to grow crops suitable in that place.

Not only this, the concerned department will also get the opportunity to ask questions regarding their progress. Here, we need to recall back by whom and for what purpose, Remote Sensing Technology has been brought into a sub-continent like India. In the early 1960, Sir Vikram Sarabhai, father of space science and Remote Sensing in India had set up this process in India. Regarding why and for what purpose, it is because the population of India kept on increasing and the measures to increase the productivity could not be seen.

It became necessary to find a way of how to use the cultivable land it, area of a place which was not used before for any purpose. Way to find out? To transform into a place of high productivity, but since the country is a large one, to make a survey was not an easy thing. At last, taking photos of the whole surface of the sub-continent was the only option.

Thus, the advantages of remote sensing came to be common. So, till now, the work of Sir Vikram Sarabhai is still remembered by the Remote Sensing Community. With the help of his technology, we can also monitor the various natural disasters. For example, the areas affected by flood, the damages caused by it and the losses it has made can be calculated and the required compensation / relief can be given.

By comparing the flooded areas with the satellite photo of the place before the flood and from the observations made by the concerned scientists, the damages can be easily found out. By estimating the loss or damages from a helicopter, we cannot know the exact loss. Besides, now we have using powerful sensors that, the forest department can even count how many trees are planted at which place and when and how many tress are growing.

In our state also, before, there were only two computers and two scientists in the Remote Sensing Centre, but now the number of computers with powerful software have increased.

There are also five scientists according to their five fields.
They are:-
(i) Soil and Agriculture.
(ii) Land use and Human Settlement.
(iii) Environment and Ecology.
(iv) Water Resource, and
(v) Geosciences.

Regarding roadways, landslide prone areas can be detected and more over in hilly regions, new roads can be constructed places apart from the landslide prone areas.

In this case, a research and development project entitled, "Landslide Hazard Zonation" from Imphal to Mao has been undertaken by the Centre under the department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.

Not only this, students, research scholars, environmentalists, local NGOs, etc. have been contributing various required datas and informations to the Remote Sensing Centre.




Dr. Leishangthem Surjit Singh (Junior Scientist – MARSAC) is contributing for the first time to e-pao.net.
He can be reached at sur_lee@rediffmail.com

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