For geospatial professionals, project consultants and researchers working with data related to India, getting hold of free to use data has always been a problem. Unlike its Western counterparts, India has a comparatively rigid data policy in place and a lean volunteered data sharing practice. So the Bhuvan application is a boon for every practitioner looking for open data on India.
What is Bhuvan?
Bhuvan is the Indian answer to Google Earth and more, focused entirely on providing free access to high resolution imagery of the Indian region. Part of the Indian geospatial data services, Bhuvan is designed as a software application with many add-on features and capabilities. It allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the Earth’s surface. The browser is tailored to view the Indian region, with content in four local languages.
As a Geoportal, Bhuvan has been in place since 12th August 2009, using multi-resolution images from multi-sensor IRS (Indian Remote Sensing) satellites. Free data sets, services and applications in various spectral, spatial and temporal resolutions are available. The web-based mapping service offers navigation in a 3D viewing environment, with a resolution of 5.8 meters to 1 meter, and various geoprocessing functionalities.
Bhuvan is compatible with all browsers and operating systems. The current version does not require any plug-in installation. Users need to register only when downloading satellite data up to 25m resolution LISS-III, or products like the NDVI, OHC datasets and Cartosat Digital Elevation Model. The Bhuvan mobile and android apps also make it possible to access data on the fly.
GIS Data sets Available
All GIS data is specific to India. Data sets and services comply with India’s remote sensing data policy. Sensitive locations like military and nuclear installations are excluded.
Datasets are in Geographic Coordinate System with WGS84 datum.
Users can download elevation data of CartoDEM-1arc second and Resourcesat-1: AWiFS data (56m).
High Resolution seamless imagery (1m) of 177 Indian Cities, and 2.5m data for major part of the country is currently available for download.
Data sets are usable, actionable, multi-layered. Terrain analysis is multi-resolution, multi-temporal and multi-sensor.
Raster Datasets – primarily India, select cities and regions from around the world
Vector Datasets – administrative boundaries (up to taluks, village and towns), infrastructure, major water bodies, watershed boundaries, soil resources (erosion, texture, productivity, slope) state-wise soil resources (work-in-progress), wastelands, groundwater prospects (for States of Orissa, Jharkhand, Assam), land use.
Weather data – weather data (temperature, pressure, wind, humidity) from automated stations or chosen locations
Disaster related data – drought, flood, typhoon, forest fire, heat index, earthquake, cyclone, data sets of Odisha flood hazard map, Japan Tsunami map, also available
Data for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), United Nations Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2013 (UNESCAP), can also be accessed.
Ocean data – potential fishing zones, chlorophyll and sea surface temperature,
Chlorophyll Concentration & Sea Surface temperature
(Potential Fishing Zone of Vadarevu coast, Andhra Pradesh)
Bhuvan is spear-headed by the space agency of the Indian government, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The data is provided by several sources: satellites and research programs of the Indian Earth Observation (EO) series of satellite missions in land, water resources, ocean and atmospheric research.
Bhuvan Applications have been developed in collaboration with different Government agencies (Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Karnataka Forest Department, Himachal Pradesh Forest Department, Central Water Commission, India Meteorological Department, amongst others).
- imagery / elevation layers can be imported from a personal or remote server directly onto Bhuvan
- video files can be synced and played onto any selected area of terrain
- users can load OGC complied WFS specifications
- GIS tools – attribute query, buffer, measurement tools, shadow analysis, draw tools (simple, freehand, 2D, 3D), geographic modeling
- specialiazed tools – terrain profile tool (to view terrain elevation profile along a path, with maximum / minimum elevation values and slopes), threat dome tool (to view area visible from a given point in 3D View, set parameters like ‘scan field’, ‘elevation angle’, etc.). Urban design tools (build roads, junctions, traffic lights in an urban setting)
- community tool– allows the user to access, create, follow, and share in real-time. Interactive fly-through sessions, chats with fellow users, annotation of terrain, visualization and toggle of information layers for analysis to facilitate a hi-end collaborative environment.
Thematic Application services – cartography, climate research, soil, agriculture, ocean, water. Ecosystems, thematic products (like pests and disease incidence in real-time, erosions, salt affected areas, urban sprawl)
Specialized services – land services (groundwater, land use/ land cover, near real-time agricultural drought assessment, watershed development, wastelands information)
Ocean services, Weather services, Disaster services
Open archive for viewing and downloads
Products – OSCAT-3D land products, Global Coverage products – GAC-NDVI, TCHP, OHC, Wind Products.
Crowd Sourcing extensions (Mapper, Android POI App) – The Bhuvan Mapper embeds user tagged information for customized /interactive mapping, adding and sharing of public layers (KML, shp, fly, WMS, WFS, Tiff, img, elevation layer).
Satellite-supported mapping apps – Similar to the Google Earth, these apps come with support and data from Indian satellites. A robust API makes easy development and integration of field and other data.
The Bhuvan Tamil Nadu FS Mobile App supports collection of field data, photographs and uploading of the flood attributes. Besides helping to build a spatial database on Bhuvan Geo-platform, this app helps to monitor floods with respect to water levels, spread and damage in real time. Flood data can be saved for upload later. The app can be downloaded here and user manual accessed on the Bhuvan page.
Mobile users can download the app from the Bhuvan mobile page.
For Android users, Bhuvan offers the BhuvanPOI_v1.1which can be downloaded from here. Till now it is not available on the Play Store. The Android based application supports field data collection and intuitive neighborhood mapping. After installing the APK, the user needs to fill the ‘Application configuration settings’, before uploading points of interest.