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The Odyssey of the Topographical Survey in India

Wednesday, April 23rd 2014
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Summary:

In the mid-1990s, geospatial technology developers, solution providers and vendors came together in India to provide a much needed impetus to the geospatial industry. But a similar initiative for topographical surveying and mapping is needed. Surveying and mapping forms the basis of all geospatial analysis and it is important to convene a forum on the most current tools and technology. This article provides information on the history of surveying in India and information on the upcoming Survey India conference developed by Directions Magazine India.

In 1767, a British officer from the East India Company, Lord Robert Clive, realized the need to have the correct topographical map of the region and established a surveying and mapping agency - Bengal Surveys. It was later renamed as the Survey of India. It laid the foundation for the systematic topographical mapping of India and is one of the oldest surveying and mapping agencies in the world. In 1799, after the Kingdom of Mysore was brought under the control of the British, Colonel William Lambton ordered the third Mysore Surveys to define and defend the newly acquired territory. On April 10, 1802, Col. Lambton began an audacious but mathematically meticulous scientific journey to map the country starting at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai (formerly Madras). The mapping survey utilized a specially crafted 36-inch theodolite, which weighed over half a ton.

The 12-km-long horizontal at about sea level grew into what is referred to as the Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, a gigantic geometric web of triangulations roughly along the 78° longitude across the entire length of the subcontinent covering a distance of about 2,400 km in a north-south direction. The survey of the Indian Peninsula from Madras in the south to Dehradun, in the foothills of the Himalayas, took four decades to complete.

Topographical surveying and mapping has evolved since then and its utility has grown from being military-driven, fulfilling defense needs, to being a critical adjunct for infrastructure and urban development, governance, natural resource management, business intelligence and others. Not only has the usage of topographical data grown but the equipment and techniques for surveying and mapping have evolved as well. Today, aerial photography, LiDAR (both aerial and terrestrial), mobile mapping and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) in addition to total stations with differential GPS provide the means to capture survey data.

In the mid-1990s, geospatial technology developers, solution providers, vendors and publications came together in India to provide a much needed impetus to the geospatial industry. As a result, mapping and GIS becoming an integral part of many of the national level programs such as the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP), the National Land Records Modernization Programme(NLRMP), and the National Urban Information System (NUIS), as well as others. But a similar initiative for topographical surveying and mapping was lacking. Survey and mapping forms the basis of all geospatial analysis and it is important that focused deliberations take place on the upcoming topographical survey tool to help us advance as a geospatially data-rich and data-enabled country. Several government institutions and ministries are taking a proactive approach in geospatial technology and the industry has an excellent opportunity to fill the void in guidance and partnership with these implementing agencies.

Considering the need and suggestions of industry leaders, Directions Magazine India has taken the initiative to organize a focused conference on topographical surveying and mapping - Survey India 2014. It is the first national conference in India focused on topographical surveying techniques and tools. The surveying profession is vitally important to support the rapid infrastructure expansion within India today. It will bring together both public and private organizations with business interests in topographical surveying and mapping. The conference will focus on exploring new and emerging technologies like LiDAR and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and the vertical industries that can benefit. The objective of Survey India 2014 will be to serve as a platform for display of various survey equipment and tools to process and analyze the data under a single roof through an interactive conference with business networking.

Hexagon India has joined Survey India 2014 as its platinum sponsor. Sharing his views on Survey India 2014, Kaushik Chakraborty, vice president of Hexagon India said, “It is indeed a privilege to work with Directions Magazine India to launch the first national conference focused on surveying techniques and tools, Survey India 2014. This conference will provide a platform to its attendees where they have the opportunity to network with the key solution providers in the growing surveying Industry. I am sure attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the latest and emerging technologies in the geospatial industry which will bring new applications and bring more efficiency into our projects.  Hexagon is excited to showcase our latest product and solutions offerings for the survey and GIS industry at Survey India 2014 conference.”

FARO Business Technologies (I) Pvt Ltd has joined Survey India 2014 as NotePad & Pen Sponsor. Anil NP, distribution manager of FARO Business Technologies (I) Pvt Ltd, is quite happy about this initiative and said, "We are looking forward to showcasing Focus3D X series. Now FARO Laser Scanner Focus 3D  X series comes with a scanning range of 330 and 130 meters, this laser scanner is ideal for surveying, scanning applications such as architecture, BIM, civil engineering, facility management, industrial manufacturing, forensics, and accident reconstruction. This event will be a worthy platform to network with industry specialists and further prospects to share future ideas and technologies therefore.”

The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) are supporting the event as government partners. The Survey of India (SoI) is the principal sponsor for the event. IIT Roorkee is supporting the event as the institutional partner and Geospatial Today is the media partner for the event. In addition, Secon Pvt Ltd and Genesys International Corporation and are the associate sponsor of the event. The event, 9-10 July in New Delhi is organized by Directions Magazine, Directions Magazine India and AEYZED Media Services. See our conference website for details about registering for the event.


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