Monday, 11 May 2015


Left: CARTOSAT-1 during integration at ISRO - Image of San Francisco Bay by the Satellite

The launch of Cartosat-1 Satellite on May 5, 2005 heralded a new era in Indian Remote Sensing Applications with the unique configuration of payloads (Fore camera at +26 degree and Aft camera at -5 degree) to provide along track stereo imagery at 2.5 m resolution for applications in the areas of cartography, large scale topographic mapping, etc.

One of the major achievements of Cartosat-1 data is the generation of national level Digital Elevation Model (DEM) at 1/3rd arc second and ortho image base at 1/12 arc second for the entire country. The generation of CartoDEM involves handling large volumes of satellite data in raster format, which was automated using the indigenously developed Augmented Stereo Strip Triangulation (ASST) software. The software has used about 2800 Ground Control Points (GCPs) generated specifically for the Cartosat-1 data processing. Further, to facilitate the Indian user community in general and academic community in particular, CartoDEM of 30m posting was made available at free of cost through Bhuvan portal of ISRO and till date about 74000 products have been downloaded by the users. The Cartosat-1 Stereo data has also been validated by global community to generate high quality DEM under Cartosat-1 Scientific Assessment programme (C-SAP).

Some of the major applications carried out using Cartosat-1 data include (i) generation of urban base map at 1:10,000 scale for National Urban Information System for 152 towns, (ii) Generation of large scale topographic map at 1:10,000 scale for cartographic applications, (iii) Generation of DTM with bare earth orthometric heights for the Indian coasts on vulnerability of inundation due to Tsunami and Cyclone for INCOIS, (iv) Estimating the status of irrigation potential created and in identification of critical gaps for 103 Irrigation projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), (v) Generation of State level DEM and mosaic of ortho-images at State level under Space Based Information Support for Decentralised Planning (SIS-DP), (vi) Planning of watershed and its concurrent monitoring and evaluation at periodic intervals, (vii) India-water resource Information system (India-WRIS), etc

As on date, nearly one lakh imagery has been disseminated to the user community. The unique nature of imaging and the quality products of Cartosat-1 has created a keen interest amongst the International user community and about 12 Ground Stations (Germany, Russia, China, Algeria, Iran) were setup to directly download the Cartosat-1 data to generate the high resolution DEMs and Cartographic applications.

Today, Cartosat-1 based datasets have become standard products for Bhuvan in high resolution image reference and development of many national level and state level natural resources development applications and management programmes in different themes. These include agriculture, urban planning, water resources, landslide studies, glacier studies, ground water potential zonation, disaster management support, rural development, forest biomass estimation, etc.

Though designed for a mission life of 5 years, Cartosat-1 has served more than 10 years and is still beaming high quality along track stereo imagery. On this occasion, a one day National seminar “Cartosat-1: 10 years in orbit” was organised at National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad on May 05, 2015, was organised to deliberate on the achievement of Cartosat-1, potential use of the data by user community and the future requirements. A comprehensive compendium “Cartosat-1: 10 Years Completion (2005-2015)” has been brought out on this important occasion. 

About 350 participants from Central and State government organisations including Ministry of Urban, Ministry of Forest and Environment, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and State Remote Sensing Application Centres (SRSACs), Scientist and Engineers of different ISRO Centres namely, NRSC, ISAC, ISTRAC, SAC, ADRIN as well as participants from Industry attended the seminar. Contributions of all Scientists/ Engineers (including retired employees) were acknowledged on this land mark event. The future high resolution satellites and the payloads capabilities presented to the users have evinced keen interest among the user community.

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