Bangalore, March 16: Voluminous data from the Indian remote sensing satellites has benefited millions of farmers and fishermen in achieving higher productivity and making optimal utilisation of resources, a senior space scientist said Saturday.
“Studies by the premier economic research institute NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Reasearch) have shown that remote sensing data has accrued multiple benefits to farmers across the country with seven percent increase in productivity and helping the farm sector to contribute about Rs.50,000 crore to the national gross domestic product (GDP) over the years,” Indian Society of Remote Sensing president V.K. Dadhwal told reporters here.
Similarly, application of remote sensing data by the fishing community contributed about Rs.24,000 crore to the GDP and saved fuel consumption by 30 percent with timely advisories on weather, sea conditions and identification of potential fishing zones for maximizing the catch.
The advisories of potential fishing zones help about 90 percent of fishermen across the country in increasing their catch per unit effort with advance information on distance, direction and location of the catch.
“Potential fishing zones forecast is sent daily to all major fishing harbours and fishing cooperatives free of cost by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System through newspapers, radio, fax, phone, digital display boards and websites,” Dadhwal said at a symposium on the ‘Saga of Indian Remote Sensing Satellite Programme: 25 years since IRS-1A’, being held this weekend.
“Likewise, imagery from the constellation of our remote sensing satellites is regularly used for crop acreage and production estimation, crop health monitoring, groundwater prospecting, forest cover assessment, marine resources, rural development, wasteland mapping, environmental monitoring and disaster management,” he added.
With 11 earth observation satellites in operation out of the 20 such missions launched since 1988, India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the civilian domain, dedicated to land and water, cartography, oceanography and environment, including meteorology and weather monitoring.
As a nodal agency of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre receives, processes, archives and distributes the imagery to various user agencies across the country and overseas.
The space agency’s telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in this tech hub monitors the health of the satellites, commands them to take pictures and estimates their orbit for observational operations.
“The indigenous remote sensing satellites provide data in the resolution range of 360mm to more than one metre besides multi-spectral, panchromatic and stereoscopic imagery,” Dadhwal pointed out.
Beginning with the launch of the first remote sensing satellite (IRS-1A) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in former Soviet Union March 17, 1988, India has come a long way and joined the select nations in having large earth observation satellites for various applications.
After launching 1B and IC remote sensing spacecraft on Soviet and Russian rockets during the 1990s, the space agency’s polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) placed 17 remote sensing satellites since 1994 from its spaceport at Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal on Andhra coast, about 90km north east of Chennai.
Other Indian remote sensing satellites in the lower orbit are Cartosat-1 & 2 for cartography, Resourcesat-1 & 2 for survey of natural resources, Risat-1 for all-weather, dawn-to-dusk imaging, disaster management, agricultural monitoring, Ocensat-2, Megha-Tropiques and the recently launched (Feb 25) Saral for oceanographic and atmospheric studies.