Thursday, June 4, 2015

Free Download- Cartosat 1 India 1 Arc Sec Digital Elevation Model

I've been writing periodic updates on Bhuvan and have been critical about some of its features before. Today I sing its praise.

Bhuvan is the Indian Space Research Organization's web mapping portal. It was  launched with much hype in 2009, touted by the media as a Google Earth killer.  That it hasn't turned out to be. Google Earth /Maps is still the most used application for browsing imagery and exploring the world's surface.

This need not have been portrayed by the media as a Google versus Bhuvan competition. I always felt Bhuvan would offer real value by making available India specific natural resources and earth science datasets to overlay imagery. That in fact is the direction Bhuvan has been evolving for the past few years.

Bhuvan now offers a variety of  India datasets for overlay, analysis and download. I have been playing around with the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) derived from Cartosat 1 stereo imagery. The DEM is available as 1 degree tile corresponding to the Survey of India topo map sheets. The interface  to  select and download the DEM is easy to use. Technical documentation of the DEM is also available. Spatial resolution is 1 Arc Sec, which corresponds to around 30 meters. The vertical margin of  error is about 8 meters. Analysis shows that the Cartosat DEM compares well with other widely used DEM such as SRTM (90 m res) and ASTER (30 m res).

Below is  a Digital Elevation Model of the Nallamalai Hills in Andhra Pradesh with a 0.5 deg graticule overlain. I've generated this representation in Manifold GIS. The geological terrain is part of the Proterozoic Cuddapah Basin. Remember, the color scheme assigned to the DEM is not demarcating different rock types but elevation ranges. However, as a nod to the prominent geological feature that I wanted to highlight, I have assigned a color of the common rock in outcrop. These are the Bairenkonda Quartzites and Sandstones of the Nallamalai Group which form folded ridges, part of the Nallamalai fold belt. The green low relief areas are mostly underlain by shales and limestones.

And check out the drainage in color black (lowest elevation). You can make out the drainage divide between the Godavari and Krishna basins. In the upper right part of the image, streams are draining north towards the Godavari river. In the left lower part of the DEM, streams are flowing south towards the Krishna river.

Source: Cartosat 1 DEM, National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO

I'm planning to tell more stories about Indian geology using these DEM 's. For that I  have to thank ISRO for making this dataset available.

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