UPSC PRELIMS 2020: Survey of India

Topic: Survey of India

 

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

Survey of India

Context:

India’s oldest scientific department, the Survey of India (SoI) historically tasked with mapping the country will for the first time rely on drones to map the country.

 

Aim:

  • The aim is to map 75% of India’s geography— about 2.4 million sq km of the 3.2 million sq km — within the next two years.
  • The organisation aims to procure about 300 drones — so far about 30 have been sourced — for the gargantuan exercise.
  • However forests, hills and deserts are likely to be left out.
  • Every square kilometre mapped by drones will be encapsulated in 2500 pictures and thus be a trove of digital data.

 

For Precise Mapping:

  • A consequence of the mapping will be creating high resolution maps of land in villages facilitating the digitization of land titles in villages, according to officials involved with the survey.
  • Currently the best SoI maps have a resolution of 1:250000, meaning a 1 cm on the map represent 2500 cm on the ground.
  • The maps being prepared, according to senior officials associated with the project will be of 1:500 resolution, meaning 1 cm will represent 500 cm.

 

Sorting rural issues:

  • A major consequence of the drone-based exercise will be the mapping of settled habitations in villages (called abaadi areas in legal parlance).
  • Based on the availability of accurate maps, residents will finally be able to get property cards as well as proper legal titles to their lands.

 

Survey of India:

  • The Survey of India is India’s central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying.
  • First modern scientific survey of India” was undertaken by W. Mather in 1793–96 on instructions of Superintendent of Salem and Baramahal (TN), Col. Alexander Read.
  • Set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company, it is one of the oldest Engineering Departments of the GoI.
  • Its members are from Survey of India Service cadre of Civil Services of India and Army Officers from the Indian Army Corps of Engineers.
  • It is headed by the Surveyor General of India. At present, Survey of India is headed by Lt Gen Girish Kumar, VSM.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Advisor to Govt: Survey of India acts as adviser to the Government of India on all cartography of India related matters, such as geodesy, mapping and map reproduction.
  • Geo names: It is responsible for the naming convention and spellings of names of geographical features of India.
  • Certification and publication: Scrutiny and certification of external boundaries of India and Coastline on maps published by the other agencies including private publishers.
  • Surveys:geodetic datum, geodetic control network, topographical control, geophysical surveys, cadastral surveying, geologic maps, aeronautical charts within India, such as for forests, army cantonments, large scale cities, guide maps, developmental or conservation projects, etc.
  • National borders:Demarcation of the borders and external boundaries of India as well as advice on the demarcation of inter-state boundaries.