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ISRO Launches desi version of google earth

Isro took a leap into satellite imagery of geographical regions with the launch of ‘Bhuvan’, a mapping application website like Google Earth, on Wednesday. The day marks the 90th birth anniversary of the father of Indian space programme Vikram Sarabhai.

Top space scientists were present at the launch ceremony at a workshop organised by Astronautical Society of India in New Delhi. Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), a part of Isro, had a lead role in designing and developing ‘Bhuvan’.

NRSA director V Jayaraman told TOI that in November 2008 he picked up young scientists from Isro to work on the project. ‘‘They were extremely enthusiastic and right from the word go our focus was that it should be useful to users in India,’’ he said.

NRSA scientists developed the content using data provided by Indian satellites like Resourcesat-1. ‘Bhuvan’, which in Sanskrit means the earth, also focus on rural and thematic applications like wasteland mapping and terrain profile. It contains weather details like humidity levels. The new portal shows data which has been approved by the government of India. ‘‘Sensitive information has been kept out of the public domain,’’ said Jayaraman.

Isro chief spokesperson S Satish said compared to Google Earth, ‘Bhuvan’ is more ‘‘versatile’’ and provides data about different Indian cities. ‘‘It’s more viewer-friendly,’’ said Satish.

Space officials requesting anonymity said viewers can zoom into ‘Bhuvan’ maps up to 10 metres compared to Google Earth’s 200 metres and Wikemapia’s 50 metres. The website can be accessed on http://www.bhuvan.nrsc.gov.in.

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