A BRIEF HIGHLIGHT
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human to travel into the outer space- his vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Today we celebrate April 12 as International Day of Human Space Flight.
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) together with Governments of Austria and Brazil organised a side event at Rio+- Space for Sustainable Development.
To achieve Sustainable Development we need more knowledge about the state of ecosystems worldwide. This knowledge is provided by space based technologies-
1. Remote Sensing (RS)
2. Geographic Information System (GIS)
They help to measure, map and analyze the features on Earth. In India , launch of Satellite IRS-1A on March 17, 1988 marked the begining of remote sensing services in the country.
Remote Sensing Systems measure and record data from a distance using sensors on tower, aeroplanes or satellites which collect data in the form of images. In India, National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) programme use various Remote Sensing applications to manage the natural resources of the country.
A GIS is a system of computer hardware, software and proceduresto facilitate the management,manipulation, analysis, modelling, representation and display of data that is linked to location in order to solve complex problems regarding planning and management of resources. GIS stores information of the world as a collection of thematic layers-GIS works by ” overlapping of these thematic layers” onto a single Geographic map. For instance , Mumbai can have thematic layers about roads, bus routes, shopping centres, and industrial sites – as required one or moreof these layers can be overlapped onto a single map. This ‘overlapping’ is the basis of all GIS maps.
GIS: A STEP FORWARD TO INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY
Let’s say you want to know the number of leopards in the Western Ghats above the elevation of 3,000 feet. For that, You will first download the map of Western Ghats then to that add the layer of topography (surface features) and finally add the layer of leopard population density. The resultant map has overlapping sections of leopard territory and elevation above 3,000 feet.
In 2011, in a paper published in International Journal of Scientific Research researchers esed Remote Sensing and GIS to understanding the Human-Leopard conflicts in the forests of Pauri Garhwal, Uttaranchal. Researcher found that high conflict zones exist where the human habitations have increased and are dominated by high scrub areas. The Study saved lives of humans, of the leopards and the damage to forest ecology.
Space based technologies are absolutely critical for Sustainable Development. We must know the Present if We have to achieve the Future We Want. RS and GIS provide us the info we need measure our perfomance. There is more to space sciences and related business.
In September 2012. NASA asked American Space architect Dr. Marc M. Cohen to study the feasibility of Asteroid mining.
We already have Planetary resources, Inc.- The Asteroid Mining Company. Their mission is ” We will develop how low-cost robotic spacecraft to explore the thousands of resource- rich asteriods within our rich.” Welcome to the Forward Future.
BY NABARUP GANGULY
M.SC DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY