Drone & Dusted


Revenue maps of Bengaluru will become 100 times better — quite literally — as UAVs will be used instead of satellites

The devil lies in the details. Especially if you are an administrator. Map-readers can zoom in on more details from now on as the official topographical map of Bengaluru is all set to become at least a 100 times better than it is. All thanks to a new technology that will allow every one metre of land parcel to be mapped.

Picture this: Earlier maps in the city were of the scale 1:50,000 (which means 1 cm on map is 500 m (50,000 cm) on the ground. With the new technology, the scale will be 1:500 m. This indicates great detailing. To begin with, a thorough rectified image base maps at 1:500 scale with an accuracy of ± 10 cm will be prepared and this will be followed by GIS data preparation. The previous topographical map of Bengaluru was updated in 2005-06.

Survey of India (SoI), the national mapping agency, is using professional grade drones for the purpose. Officials say that this will put an end to ‘cheating’ by BBMP or revenue departments over ‘fake’ or ‘insufficient’ land.

Currently, the SoI is preparing a new large scale topographical map covering 51,000 square kilometres of land in Bengaluru Urban, Ramanagar, Belagavi, Uttara Kannada, Hassan and Tumakuru districts. A MoU was signed between the Karnataka’s Revenue department and Survey of India in February 2019.

“The work has already started. In the first phase, the processional survey grade drones/unmanned aerial vehicles are being used. Earlier, the smallest mappable unit was 100 by 100 metres and now it will be one by one metre. Earlier, two or three societies were shown as a single block while now even the external furniture can be mapped,” said a senior official of the Dehradun-headquartered SoI.

Modernising records

These maps will be helpful to the revenue department to modernise its records. Officials call this a goldmine for the revenue and municipal departments as every asset will be mapped in detail and this helps the departments monitor development. Covid had put the brakes on work that was to pick up pace sooner. In the second phase, topographical maps will be made for Kodagu, Davanagere, Dharwad, Kalaburgi, Dakshina Kannada, Vijayapura, Gadag and Mysuru.

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Uninhabited villages

Another project under the Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (SWAMITVA) will survey inhabited villages of all the districts of Karnataka as many of these villages were never surveyed earlier and hence no revenue records for such villages were available with the state government. The first phase of this project is to be over by March 2022. Even this project will have a map of 1:500 scale. “There were no revenue maps for many uninhabited villages which are now being covered,” said an official.

According to the SWAMITVA project, the details will provide the ‘record of rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages which, in turn, would enable them to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits from the Bank. The main objectives of this project are to bring financial stability, creation of accurate land records for rural planning, determination of property tax, creation of survey infrastructure and GIS maps and to reduce property related disputes and legal cases. The Department of Space and Technology website further adds, “All land parcels in the village for preparing the accurate revenue maps and GIS database. Drone survey will be pivotal to fix locations of village boundaries, canals, canal limits, agriculture field limits and roads in these villages.”

Record of rights

In a reply to Lok Sabha question recently, Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan said the SVAMITVA scheme was launched by Prime Minister on April 24, 2020, on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day under Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR). The main aim was to provide the “record of rights” to village house hold owners possessing houses in inhabited areas in villages and issuance of property cards to property owners as a pilot phase. This scheme has two components: large-scale mapping for inhabited areas using UAV/ Drone and establishment of continuously operating Reference stations. Under the scheme, in Karnataka, survey of 16,580 villages is to be completed by 2021. Out of this, drone flying is over in 899 villages, while data processing has been done for 755 villages.



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Sagar Biswas

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