Application of Space Technology in India with references to Education, Agriculture and Industry. Climatic change, Floods, Cyclone, Tsunami, Natural and Manmade Disaster Management

Applications of Space Technology in India

Agriculture

Information on crop statistics is required for planning and decision making purposes, such as, distribution and storage of food grains, Govt. policies, pricing, procurement and food security and so on. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare effectively uses contemporary techniques of satellite remote sensing in such decision making. Remote sensing data does provide many advantages over conventional methods, particularly in terms of timely decision making mechanisms, spatial depiction and coverage including cost effectiveness. Space data is used in addressing in many critical aspects, such as, crop area estimation, crop yield & production estimation, crop condition, deriving basic soil information, cropping system studies, experimental crop insurance, etc.

Crop production forecasts using satellite remote sensing data has been conceptualized by ISRO in early eighties. This led to the success of CAPE (Crop Acreage and Production Estimation) project, that was done with active participation of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW), towards forecasting of production of crops in selected regions. In order to enhance the scope of this project, the FASAL (Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based Observations) programme was conceptualized, by developing methodology for multiple in-season forecasts of crops at national scale. A centre named Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) was established by MoA&FW in New Delhi in April 2012, which operationally uses space-based observations, at national level, for pre-harvest multiple crop production forecasts of nine field crops. Crops covered are wheat, rice, jute, mustard, cotton, sugarcane, rabi & kharif rice and rabi sorghum. Remote Sensing based acreage and yield forecasts based on weather parameters or spectral indices are used to provide production forecasts. The center is also actively involved in national level assessment of Horticultural crops and their coverage across the agro-climatic regions in the country.

 

 

Disaster management

Space technology and GIS applications play a crucial role in mitigation of disasters. Space-based technologies such as Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, meteorological satellites and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have played an important role in risk reduction and disaster management. They are key tools for comprehensive hazard and risk assessments, response, relief and disaster impact assessment. Space-derived and in-situ geographic information and geospatial data are extremely useful during times of emergency response and reconstruction, especially after the occurrence of major events such as earthquakes or floods.

Space technologies have an essential role to play in monitoring and providing early warning to vulnerable communities at risk. They can also facilitate the transmission of warnings across continents using satellite communications and help in the identifying the location of critical infrastructure such as hospital, bridges and schools. Lack of early warning and monitoring along with poor urban planning and preparedness, can increase the magnitude of casualties and damage. During the recent cyclone Phaillin that hit the state of Orissa in India, in October 2013, the Indian authorities were applauded for making effective use of early warning systems that helped in early evacuation and thus saving many precious lives. Almost 1 million people were successfully evacuated from the state of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh following the warning of the cyclone by disaster management authorities. Thus, space based technologies, through timely provision of reliable data can help in minimizing the economic losses and damages.

Hazard mapping and damage assessment are crucial to mitigate the risk from natural disasters such as earthquakes which are almost impossible to forecast. The Asia-Pacific Region has constantly suffered from catastrophic earthquakes due to the geological structure of this region. Many countries in this region, lie close to the tectonic fault lines and hence are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes. Post-disaster assessments can play a crucial role during relief operations and can also help in preventing secondary disasters by identifying hazardous zones. These tools are slowly becoming more effective at setting recovery agendas to reduce the risks people face from future disasters. Remote sensing technology is increasingly recognized as a valuable post-earthquake damage assessment tool.

Space technology in india in education

Satellite communications technology offers unique capability of being able to simultaneously reach out to very large numbers spread over large distances even in the most remote corners of the country. The Indian  Space Programme has always aimed to be second to none in the applications of space technology to deal with the problems of development in our society. ISRO has continuously pursued the  tilization of space technology for education and development. This article highlights the projects undertaken and lessons learnt in the use of  satellite communication to meet the challenge of education and development.

The SITE (Satellite Instruction Television Experiment) project carried out in 1975-76 provided instructions in the fields of family planning, agriculture, national integration, school education and teacher training. The ground hardware consisted of Direct Reception  Systems (DRS), for community viewing of the TV programmes. They were installed in six States of the country in “clusters” of about 400 each for a total  of over 2400 DRSs. The instructional programmes (some  prepared by ISRO) were broadcast for 4 hours every day covering science education programmes  production, various school programmes and teachers training programme (by the ministry of Education). The programme  re-trained over 50000 teachers was in two 2-week sessions.

The Indian national satellite (INSAT) System has been the major catalyst in the rapid  expansion of terrestrial television coverage in India. INSAT is being used to provide Education TV (ETV) Services for primary school children in six states. University Grants Commission (UGC) is  using this for its countrywide classroom programme on higher education (college sector). INSAT is being used by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for distance education  progammes and Doordarshan for Science Channel progranmmes.

In Gramsat Programme (GP) TDCC networks were upgraded and all  activities related to satellite  ased  development communication, education, training, healthcareswere grouped into a GP thereby  connecting each village, providing computer connectivity, data broadcasting,  and TV broadcasting facilities for applications like e- Governance, NRIS, teleconferencing, and rural education/ education broadcasting etc.  Disaster management, telemedicine, and recently Village  Resource Centre were added to the Gramsat networks.  Gramsat networks are operational in Gujarat, Karnataka,  M.P. Orissa and  Rajasthan (pilot), Andaman Nicobar,  Goa, H.P., Orissa, Chhattisgarh.  EDUSAT for education While the education institutions of the  country have continuously endeavoured to use the latest technology to support the process  of education, the demands have  been increasing, with the challenge of the day being to stay updated with the changing trends. To help  meet this challenge, ISRO has  taken up the ‘Tele-Education’ by launching EDUSAT, a satellite totally dedicated to the nation’s  need for education. It has a C-band national beam, a Ku-band national beam, and five Ku-band regional  beams facilitating imparting of education in regional languages. EDUSAT will strengthen education  efforts by augmenting curriculum  based teaching, providing effective teachers’ training, and community  participation. Networks based on EDUSAT consist of either receive only (one way communication)  terminals or interactive (two way communication) terminals or both  in national as well as in regionalnetworks. The networks are capable of facilitating live lectures/  power point presentations with student interaction, web based  learning, interactive training, virtual laboratory, video  conferencing, data/videobroadcast, database access for reference material/library/recorded  lectures etc., on line examination and admissions, distribution of administrative information, etc.  The Network is IP based and doesnot need expensive studio facility   end or hub as shown in the figure,consist of two cameras, two PCs, proper lighting, and DVD player (if needed) in addition to the indoor and outdoor units of the  hub hardware. The equipment needed at the interactive classroom  end, consist of webcam, PC, LCD projector, speakers, microphone,  UPS in addition to the satellite terminal. The classroom consisting  of receive only terminal requires a  PC, projector, speakers, UPS in addition to the satellite terminal. EDUSAT utilisation is divided into  three distinct phases: Pilot phase,  Semi operational phase, and Operational phase. Networks for education prior EDUSAT  Prior to the availability of EDUSAT, as a part of Pilot Phase, networks for education were.

At the beginning of a class session, relevant data is broadcast using EDUSAT to all the classrooms which print out these  data in Braille format using Braille printer. Theses are distributed to  the students. The teacher then commences his lecture to the  students who already have the  Braille print out of the lecture in their hands. These two put together makes the learning for the blind  students a much more effective and faster. The EDUSAT based  networks of many state governments, universities and  other institutions are in various stages of implementation. In the operational phase, overall  management, day to day operation,  and network upgradation etc. will be the responsibility of a selected  nodal agency and the role of ISRO will be in the advisory capacity.  Acknowledgements The author wishes to thank Mr. B.S. Bhatia, Director, DECU/ISRO for his help in providing material  for this paper and Dr. K.S. Dasgupta, Group Director,  ADCTG/SAC/ISRO for encouragement.

Applications of space technology in india in climate change

Climate change is one of the complex problems facing mankind today. The overriding complexity of the problem is attributed to its deeper global ramifications on a vast range of issues impacting the very survival of life on Earth. Understanding such a complex issue with vast and varied dimensions and implications, assumes greater significance for all stakeholders, especially for our policy makers. There are varieties of perceptions regarding the exact size and consequences of climate change.

India is spread across the warmer regions of the planet as compared to the developed countries in North America or Europe, which are in relatively cooler regions. If we look at data from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, it shows that much of India is warming. The mean annual surface-air temperature has risen by an average of 0.4°C in the last 50 years. India is a large country which extends from 8° to 33°N. The variety in terrain, from the high mountains of the Himalayas in the north to tropical coastlands in the south, makes for a wide range of climatic conditions. In the northern mountain regions, winters are cool at lower levels, and increasingly cold at higher altitudes. In the summer, intermediate levels around 2000 m above sea level are pleasantly cool, but it can get quite hot at lower levels.

Space based remote sensing data helps in mapping earth resources, monitoring their changes and deriving bio-geophysical parameters. All this information helps in identifying the indicators and agents of climate change. The space-based inputs can also be integrated with physical simulation models to predict the impact of climate change. It provides information related to three aspects

  • The indicators of climate change
  • Assessment of agents of climate change, their sources and distribution pattern and
  • Modeling the impact of climate change in various fields and natural resources that would be of help in planning towards adaptation measures and preparedness

The programme on Climate change Research In Terrestrial environment (PRACRITI) -Phase programme presently consists of climate change/ climate based modelling and characterization studies of diverse habitats ranging from vital/ critical habitats like Indian coral reefs and mangrove swamps to high altitude Himalayan alpine ecosystems, Indian eco-hydrology and investigations on Indian monsoon teleconnection with the polar environment processes. The studies are carried out with synergistic use of ground measurements, space inputs and climate projection data. The detailed objectives of different projects are:

  • Modeling Eco-hydrology of India and Impact of Climate Change
    This study emphasizes on development of cell based integrated hydrological system model for National water balance. Water balance analysis and impact of climate change over major and medium rivers basins of India, snow melt from Indian Himalayan, hilly regions etc.
  • Alpine ecosystem dynamics and impact of climate change in Indian Himalaya
    This study is about experiment and modeling for the establishment of long term ecological records in alpine ecosystems of Indian Himalaya. Other objective includes development of seamless geospatial database, climate change impact on alpine landscape, understanding alpine eco-system response etc.
  • Bio-physical Characterization and Site Suitability Analysis for Indian Mangroves
    Major goal of this study is to characterize mangrove ecosystems of India using remote sensing data. Modelling of biophysical parameters, Estimation of gross primary productivity, Identification of mangrove afforestation/plantation conducive areas etc. will also be studied.
  • Impact of Global Changes on Marine Ecosystems with special emphasis on Coral Reefs
    This study highlights on developing region specific coral bleaching systems for five major Indian Reef regions of India. Study aims for Micro-habitat zonation of reefs, approach for reef substrate signatures, impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystem etc.
  • Investigations of Indian monsoon teleconnection with the polar environment processes
    The major objective of this study is to develop models for understanding of teleconnection between the polar environment and Indian monsoon using satellite derived data and indices.

 

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