Aadhar mandatory to access maps: Survey of India

Aadhar mandatory to access maps: Survey of India

In its 250th year, India's oldest scientific agency, Survey of India has decided to make maps more accessible to the common man, but only for those with an Aadhar number.
 
The Dehradun-based mapping agency has created a portal (Nakshe), which can be used to download Survey of India’s open series maps.
 
To address the security concerns and tracking, it has been decided that one has to enter his/her Aadhar number to download a .pdf copy of the map. The downloaded data will be embedded with the bar-coded Aadhar number of the users.
 
“We have approximately 5,000 open series maps, out of which 3,000 would be available immediately. Another 700, mostly related to land boundary, would also come up after we received approval from the government,” Swarna Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India said here on Monday.
 
Accessing these maps currently involves a trip to one of the Survey of India’s 23 branch offices, where these topography-sheets are sold against identity proof. In the portal (www.soinakshe.uk.gov.in), the maps would be available free.
 
“We have a law that states any information compiled with the public money should readily be available to the people. That’s why I suggested to them to open up the maps for the public,” said union science minister Harsh Vardhan.
 
In a policy change, the mapping organisation from now on would provide its data free to the government agencies including the state government, said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, department of science and technology on the sidelines of a function to celebrate Survey of India’s 250th anniversary.
 
Since its inception in 1767, Survey of India prepares two series of maps – open series maps for the general public and defence series maps for the military. The open series maps (1: 50,000 scale) would be made available online.
 
The mapping organisation has also made a gravity-based mathematical formula to calculate the elevation with respect to the mean sea level, using GPS data. This is called IndeGeoid (Geoid model of India), absence of which was considered a major bottleneck for engineering projects.
 
“IndeGeoid would help reduce the turn-around time for engineering projects, reducing the project cost,” Lt Col Kunal Borkar, assistant surveyor general told DH.
 
Using this mathematical formula, the height of any structure can be calculated with an accuracy of up to 30 cm. The scientists planed to bring it down to 10 cm of accuracy by 2018, he said. 

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