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Archive for August 15th, 2009

Bhuvan (beta) launched: Indian Earth Observation Visualisation (prototype – 08/12/2009)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on August 15, 2009

Bhuvan-NRSC-Gov-In-Logo-082009-1Bhuvan, (Sanskrit: भुवन Hindi: भुवन, lit: Earth), is a satellite mapping tool similar to Google Earth and Wikimapia. It was developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It offers resolution up to 5 metres and is considered as a rival to Google Earth and Wikimapia.[1]

A prototype (beta)[2] of this application was launched on 12th August 2009.[3]

ISRO launched the beta version of its web-based 3-D satellite imagery tool, Bhuvan, on August 12, 2009. Bhuvan will offer superior imagery of Indian locations compared to other Virtual Globe software with spatial resolutions ranging from 6 m to 55 m. Locations can be viewed from different perspectives and will allow for the measurement of distances. The Bhuvan portal is designed to run on slow Internet connections. The imagery would steer clear of all sensitive military installations in India for security concerns.[4]

Bhuvan displays better images of India than the ones relayed by Google Earth along with a number of other interesting features which include weather information and even administrative boundaries of all states and districts, relevant only to the country. Bhuvan is equally capable of offering images of the globe, but the best resolution area includes India at the moment. In the Indian subcontinent, Bhuvan will be able to display a picture from ten meters away that is; a commuter moving on the road can be easily spotted.[5]

National Remote Sensing Agency played an important role in the creation of this product. ISRO has used data provided by satellites including Resourcesat-1, Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 to get the best possible imagery for India. ISRO claims that the application can provide imagery of up to 10 metres for major Indian cities compared to 200 meters provided by Google Earth.[6]

Bhuvan is based on TerraExplorer software a product of Skyline Software Systems [7] .


  • Bhuvan allows users to access, explore and visualize 2D and 3D image data along with rich thematic information on soil, wasteland, water resources etc in the Indian subcontinent.
  • It displays multi-resolution, multi-sensor, multi-temporal image data.
  • Users can superpose administrative boundaries of choice on images as required.
  • It allows visualization of AWS(Automatic Weather Stations) data in a graphic view and use tabular weather data of user choice .
  • Fly to locations (Enables users to fly from the current location directly to the selected location)
  • It features a Heads-Up Display(HUD) navigation controls (Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)
  • Allows navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)
  • 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)
  • Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)
  • Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)
  • Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows to save to a external file)
  • Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)
  • Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects the lighting on the terrain)

There would be many more value added functions and facilities which will be added into the package from time to time. Particular interest of ISRO/DOS would be to provide such functionalities to common man so that they can adopt participatory approach with scientists to solve simple problems easily and interactively.


Some of the advanced functionalities to be provided in future versions:

  • Urban Design Tools (to build roads, junctions and traffic lights in an urban setting)
  • Contour map (Displays a colorized terrain map and contour lines)
  • Terrain profile (Displays the terrain elevation profile along a path)
  • Draw tools (Creates simple markers, free hand lines, urban designs)
  • Navigation map (to jump to and view locations in the 3D India)

Technical Requirements – Hard- & Software

The Beta version of Bhuvan can run only on windows system and is optimized for Internet Explorer 6. or higher. and turn off internet explorer protected mode.

  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
  • CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
  • System Memory (RAM): 512MB
  • Hard Disk: 2GB free space
  • Network Speed: 768 Kbits/sec
  • Graphics Card: 3D-capable with 32MB of VRAM
  • Screen: 1280×1024, 32-bit True Color



(Source: 08/15/2009 – Wikipedia (ENG))

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