Empowering E-Governance through GIS – BHARATMAPS
Information Technology, as a cross-cutting frontier of knowledge, has opened several new vistas of applications for daily needs of the civil society. One of them is Geographical Information System (GIS) technology, which is rapidly becoming a catalyst for several transformational changes in the world mainly in natural resource management, planning, decision-making, governance and citizen engagement services.
The mandate of Digital India initiative of the Government of India is to digitally empower the society. It envisages the facilitation of location based/ GIS based decision-making for planning, e-Governance and better utilization of resources available.
GIS platform, established by National Informatics Centre (NIC), using NICMAPS services, has been revamped as ‘BHARAT MAPS’. It depicts the core foundation data as an integrated multi-scale, multi-resolution base map service using reference data from various agencies.
Bharat Maps is a Multi-layered GIS platform/ web service comprising of seamless country wide base maps, satellite images and hybrid maps aligned as per the global geo-spatial standards. It is an essential component of Digital India program to ensure easy, effective and economical governance. It also provides GIS based decision support system to Central and State Government Departments for delivering citizen centric services.
Platforms for GIS Service Delivery of NIC
a) Visualization services (https://bharatmaps.gov.in/)
These services are open to Government as well as citizens
(b) Map services (https://mapservice.gov.in/)
GIS services from National Informatics Centre (NIC) are based on Service Oriented Framework leveraging multi-layer, multi-scale & multi-resolution GIS data. Dissemination and utilization of these datasets was a real challenge earlier. Bharat Maps framework is a unique and robust infrastructure leveraging seamless countrywide base maps, satellite images and terrain maps, like the services rendered by global GIS communities. NIC has developed an automated map service dissemination application consisting of about 32 layers. This platform enables all the NIC officers to access and integrate map services in their e-Gov application.
Map services are being provided to various Ministries and Departments like the Ministry of Sanitation and Drinking Water for SBM (Gramin), Drinking Water Portal etc. Similar services are being provided to the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban Development, Department of Land Resources, Department of Labour, Vahan & Sarathi projects, Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Health Management Information System (HMIS) etc.
(c) Geocoding and Reverse geocoding services
Geocoding is the process of transforming a description of a location such as a pair of coordinates, an address and name of a place to a location on the earth’s surface. User can geocode by entering one location description at a time or by providing many of them at once in a table. Finding places on a map is an integral part of a GIS, and geocoding enables the same.
NIC has incorporated three geocoding options on Bharat Maps – NIC Place Locator, Pin code Locator and ESRI World Geocoder. Reverse geocoding is the process of back (reverse) coding of a point location (latitude, longitude) to a readable address or place name. This permits the identification of nearby street addresses, places, and/ or areal subdivisions such as neighborhoods, county, state and country. This service can be availed through NIC’s Map Service portal. NIC has created a reverse geocoding API, which gives details of a place name, its district and state, if the latitude and longitude are provided.
(d) NIC Satellite Imagery
Satellite imagery is one valid source of latest location information, and therefore, having its base map service is of added advantage for visualization and verifying data. As a part of the “Upscaling of Multi-layer GIS Framework” project, it was required to create in-house and high resolution national image services for upgrading the existing selected GIS layers to 1:10,000 scale and encourage its use in various e-Gov applications instead of the external services like Google, Bing etc.
In view of this, country-wide high resolution panchromatic and multi-spectral standard satellite imageries of IRS (2.5m Cartosat-1 and 5m Resourcesat-2, respectively) have been procured from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad. These datasets have been processed to develop a seamless Natural Color Composite (NCC) data of 2.5m resolution. The size of the output NCC datasets is of the tune of 5 terabytes. This improved dataset has been aligned as an image service on Bharat Maps portal to enable its consumption in various e-Governance projects.
NIC’s Multi-Layer GIS Platform, Bharat Maps defines such a multi-scale and multi-resolution service-oriented framework, which is leveraging even API based OGC compliant (WMS, WFS etc.) map services to get integrated with e-Governance work flows associated with flagship programmes of the Government such as Swachh Bharat Mission, Schools, Telecom, Health, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Roads and Agriculture.