Centre surveys 18 lakh acres of defence land with drones and satellites

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On Sunday, the defence ministry declared that it has completed a survey of about 18 lakh acres of defence land scattered in 4,900 pockets across the country for optimal land use and planning, as well as preventing encroachments, in what is being labelled one of India’s largest such surveys.

Satellite and drone footage was completed in three years. While 1.61 lakh acres were surveyed in 62 declared cantonments, approximately 16.38 lakh acres were surveyed outside of cantonments and military stations.

“Clear demarcation and boundary survey of defence lands and fixing of the boundaries is necessary for the protection of the defence land, safeguarding of the title of the defence ministry, updating land records and maps, and prevention of encroachments,” the ministry said in a statement. The survey was kicked off in October 2018.

A total of 18,000 acres of the 16.38 lakh acres outside cantonments are either state hired or planned for deletion from defence records due to transfer to other government departments.

A project for real-time detection of encroachments has been started as part of the survey. The National Remote Sensing Centre in Hyderabad provided satellite images of defence land areas for the pilot test.

Officials from the Ministry of Defense can access geo-referenced and digitized shape files to help them make quick decisions.

“For the first time, drone imagery-based survey technology was used…Besides this, satellite imagery-based survey was done for the first time for many defence land pockets,” it said. In association with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, 3D modelling approaches for better visualisation of military land in hills were established using a digital elevation model (DEM) (BARC). The survey was completed quickly thanks to the usage of current technology.

Capacity building of technical personnel and officers of the Defence Estates Organisation on the latest technologies for land surveys has been made possible over the years in association with premier institutes such as the National Remote Sensing Centre and the National Institute for Geo-Informatics Science and Technology.

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