A National Workshop on Popularisation of Remote Sensing Based Maps and Geo-spatial Information was organised jointly by ISRS and ISRO on the eve of National Remote Sensing Day on August 11, 2017 at Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun.  National Remote Sensing Day (August 12) is celebrated every year on the occasion of birth anniversary of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian Space Program. The Indian Society of Remote Sensing (ISRS), having around 5000 life members, has been in the forefront in popularising Remote Sensing in the country as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. This workshop is a follow-up action of National Meet held in September 2015, with an objective to popularise space-based products and services in the central and state user departments to benefit social welfare schemes.

The programme was broadcast through different modes like live streaming at ISRS/ISRO/IIRS websites, A-View/Youtube channel and in offline modes. The Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU) of ISRO provided the support in video coverage and packaging of the programme for video streaming.

Dr. A. Senthil Kumar, Director, IIRS welcomed all the participants. While addressing the participants he said that Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System provides critical inputs to various welfare programmes / schemes of Govt. of India for effective planning and decision-making.

Dr. Shailesh Nayak, President, ISRS in the opening remarks highlighted the role of ISRS in popularising Remote Sensing in the country as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. He said that ISRS believes that Remote Sensing and GIS should be the mainstay of our planning of economic, environmental as well as social programs. He urged the participants to contribute towards enhanced use of Remote Sensing based information in the development of the country.

Dr. A. S. Kiran Kumar, Secretary, DOS and Chairman, ISRO in his inaugural address, greeted the participants on the occasion of National Remote Sensing Day. He told that the remote sensing has come a long way since the beginning of satellite remote sensing programme in 1975. He mentioned that today, Indian satellites have capability to provide even sub-meter spatial resolution and temporal coverage at 15 minutes interval. These data are being used for informed decision making in various applications such as prospective fishing zone identification, bore well location and identification, forest fire detection, and disasters management etc. He said ISRO is accomplishing the vision of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who emphasised the use of remote sensing applications for addressing the problems of common man in the country.

Dr. Y. V. N. Krishna Murthy, Director, NRSC gave an overview of activities of NRSC and diverse areas of space technology, which is helping central ministries and state departments. Dr.Tapan Misra, Director, Space Application Centre (SAC) in his address, talked about ISRO’s Earth Observation sensors, their characteristics and applications. Dr. P.G. Diwakar, Scientific Secretary, ISRO talked about India’s Bhuvan Geo-portal, its features, products, services and future activities, Dr. S.K. Srivastav, Group Director, IIRS provided an overview of capacity building and outreach programme of IIRS. Dr. Uday Raj, Chief General Manager, RRSC/NRSC talked about the space inputs for decentralised planning, and SIS-DP initiatives of ISRO. Shri P.L.N. Raju, Director, NESAC talked about the use of geo-spatial technology in the North-Eastern region.

ISRO’s Bhuvan team gave a demo on ISRO’s Bhuvan Geo-Portal and its use for various projects / schemes of government of India. SAC team highlighted the features and services provided through VEDAS Portal. IIRS team gave a demo on Indian Bio-resource Information Network (IBIN) Portal and its online services.

A live panel discussion was held at the state of art studio of IIRS. The panel was joined by the senior dignitaries  from Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun,  Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun,  Wadia Institute of Himalyan Geology (WIHG),  Earth and Climate Sciences Area (ECSA), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad and  Director, IIRS and CSSTEAP, Dehradun.  The panel discussion was moderated by Director, IIRS. The panelist put forward their views on the utilisation of space technology in their respective domains and also highlighted the areas in which application of geo-spatial technologies needs to be demonstrated and transferred to the user departments. Dr. Sameer Saran, Secretary, ISRS and Head, Geo-informatics Department, IIRS offered a formal vote of thanks for all those who contributed to organisation of the workshop and also the participants.

The workshop proved to be one of the largest mass awareness and sensitisation programmes on remote sensing applications in the country. Nearly one lakh people witnessed the proceedings of the workshop from different parts of the country. The participants belong to ISRS local chapters, IIRS Distance Learning Network of academic and research institutions, IITs, ICAR, MoEF&CC and DST institutes, ISRO Centres (ISRO HQ, ISAC, NRSC including RRSCs, SAC, IIRS, NESAC and State Remote Sensing Centres), NGOs and many schools.