A workshop was recently organized to develop Geographic Information System (GIS) for one of the Lesser Himalayan districts of Uttarakhand State, the Rudraprayag, drained by glacial fed mighty rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. The workshop was jointly organized by the Center of Excellence for Natural Resources Data Management System (COE, NRDMS) in Uttarakhand, Department of Geography, Kumaun University SSJ Campus Almora; Academy of Uttarakhand Administration Nainital; and the District Administration Rudraprayag on Jan. 2, 2013. Heads of 56 different line departments of district Rudraprayag werepresent for instruction, along with magistrates, police, and scientists for a total of 132 participants.
The workshop was organized in four different sessions. In the first session, the participants were briefed about the objectives of the workshop. In the second session a demonstration of Almora GeoPortal for Governance was given by COE NRDMS. In the third session deliberations and discussions were done regarding digital information needs of district Rudrapryag. In the fourth session, a road map and mechanism for development and updating of GIS infrastructure of district Rudrapryag waspresented.
Welcoming all the participants, the Chairman of the Workshop Mr. Navneet Pandey, Additional Districts Magistrate said in his opening remark that in the Rudraprayag district there are enormous possibilities for development of resources specifically religious tourism, horticulture, agriculture, forest, water and many others, but due to its complex geographic conditions, there are many challenges in planning and development of all these resources. To meet all these challenges, applications of the computer based latest technology, viz. GIS can be very helpful, in planning of resources, Sri. Pandey added. But the major question was how to meet all these challenges using the hi-tech technologies of GIS in district planning and administration? In this context, this workshop shall be a milestone in developing a strategy for GIS based planning and administrative system in the district, Mr. Pandey further added. Mr. Pandey also gave necessary instructions to the Heads of different line departments to prepare digital database of their office records and maps.
The GeoPortal for the district of Almoroa in Uttarakhand, has been underway since 2009. The GeoPortal provides a single window service for accessing data/information with digital map of a targeted region/area/place by clicking a few mouse buttons. The various aspects of developing Almora GeoPortal, were presented, including how the GIS infrastructure of district Almora was developed as per the needs of different government departments, and how the digital maps of different departments are stored through GIS technology. The digital maps of different departments are accessed from the computer as and when required, including a Police GIS, Watershed GIS, Road GIS, Village GIS, Household GIS, Election GIS, Municipal GIS, GIS for Education, Health and Urban Centres, and GIS for post disaster management operations.
Mr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Agriculture Officer, presented a brief account of digital information needs of different line departments of the Rudrapryag district. Prof. D. D. Chauniyal, Dept. of Geography, Garhwal University, Sri Nagar informed that through the GIS Laboratory of his Department, he has already started to prepare GIS infrastructure of district Rudraprayag.
“We have prepared GIS of some of the towns, villages and watersheds of the district,” said Chauniyal. “All the prepared GIS infrastructure of my Department shall be made available to the concerned line departments and the technical support shall be provided to the district administrators/planners for GIS development as and when required.”
The collective efforts of the Kumaun University, UCOST Dehradun, Garhwal University, Uttarakhand Academy of Administration Nainital and the Government Departments of district Rudrapryag will be applied to the work of GIS infrastructure development for district Rudrapryag, with the intent to complete the initial system within a period of six months.
In this summary session the participants made deliberations and discussed the development steps needed for the GIS infrastructure of the district of Rudrapryag.
Author: J.S. Rawat ia director, of the Centre of Excellence for NRDMS in Uttarakhand, and Professor and Campus Head in Geography, Kumaun University, SSJ Campus, Almora, India; e-mail: jsrawat1955 at gmail.com