26 cities to ready GIS-based master plans under AMRUT

26 cities to ready GIS-based master plans under AMRUT

Urban planning will go digital in 26 cities in Karnataka as they will switch to Geographic Information System (GIS)-based master plans, allowing authorities to monitor land use changes in real time and keep a check on violations. 

This is a reform the Urban Development Department (UDD) has taken up as part of the Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

Cities are expected to use spatial tools to create base or thematic maps including existing land use. Then, cities are to put together a sector-wise database. These will be dovetailed into the master plan formulation - identifying issues, projecting requirements and developing strategy based on the georeferenced maps using sector-wise data analysis.

“The biggest advantage is the real-time monitoring and updating of land use changes,” UDD Secretary (Municipalities and Urban Development Authorities) Anjum Parwez said. “For example, if an urban development authority approves the building of a road, it can be updated instantly on the digital maps to reflect the land use change. This will also allow us to pinpoint violations without having to manually look up maps,” he said. The reform is imminent, according to Parwez. “We’re moving toward online approval of building plans and layouts. If the master plan isn’t digital, the other reforms won’t work,” he said.

Cities such as New York and London use strategic spatial planning to collectively re-imagine possible futures, identify priorities and implementable projects. In Bengaluru, however, master plans have been restricted to static land use and colour-coded maps, which are prone to violation.

“Although Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) doesn’t come under AMRUT, we have used GIS tools in the Revised Master Plan 2031 whose first draft is ready. It will be circulated to the BBMP and BMRDA for vetting,” BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh said. Geospatial tools used during the RMP 2015 revision by French consulting firm Groupe CE ended up locked in a cupboard, sources pointed out, underlining the need for in-house capacity to work with spatial data on a daily basis.

“Several urban agencies, especially in smaller cities, do not have the capacity yet to manage GIS databases. Many government departments in larger cities, too, outsource their GIS needs, which needs to change. GIS needs to become part of everyday use and not a once-in-10-years effort,” said Rejeet Mathews, head, Urban Development at WRI India.


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