Satellite Communication Applications
A fleet of commercial communication satellites, are operating over India with
communication transponders in C-band, Extended C-band, Ku-band and S-band. These
transponders support the services like television, telecommunication, radio
networking, strategic communication and societal applications. The prominent
users of the transponders are BSNL, Doordarshan, All India Radio, strategic
govt. users, public sector units, private VSAT operators, DTH and TV operators,
banking and financial institutions, etc.
Under societal applications, ISRO/DOS has supported
programmes like Telemedicine, Tele-education and Disaster Management Support
(DMS) Programmes which are solely national development oriented with an aim to
address specific requirements at different strata of the society.
INSAT has been a major catalyst for the expansion of
television coverage in India. DOS has made available the required transponders
through INSAT/GSAT satellites and through leased capacity to cater to the needs
of television service.
Radio Networking (RN) through INSAT provides a reliable
high-fidelity programme channels for National as well as Regional Networking.
AIR is utilising one C-band transponder of INSAT-3C for uplinking RN carriers
across the country.
INSAT satellites have been traditionally supporting
telecommunication applications for providing voice and data communications.
Satellite links are the primary means of connectivity to remote and far flung
regions of the country and they are the backup links for large number of
terrestrial connectivity in the mainland.
Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) networks are designed
to support all kinds of applications supporting video, voice and data, with a
wide range of data rates from few kilobits per second (kbps) to 8 megabits per
seconds (mbps). A VSAT network comprises of a central hub and hundreds of
terminals which are further interfaced to computers and other peripheral
devices. The hub acts as a gateway with interface to external connectivity and
several application servers. Rapid technological advancements and reduction in
the cost of user equipment are increasing the popularity of VSAT network. A VSAT
network works out to be a cheaper option while establishing a network to cover a
wide geographical area, state wide or nationwide. VSAT networks operate in C,
Extended C and Ku-bands.
ISRO Telemedicine pilot project was started in the year 2001
as part of proof-of-concept demonstration programme, linking Apollo Hospital at
Chennai with the Apollo Rural Hospital at Aragonda village in the Chittoor
district of Andhra Pradesh. The Telemedicine technology involved the ICT based
system consisting of customised medical software integrated with the computer
hardware along with medical diagnostic instruments connected to the commercial
VSAT at each location. The Telemedicine software consisted essentially of
store-and-forward modules for Tele-radiology, Tele-cardiology and Tele-pathology
purposes along with the video-conferencing facility.
As an on-going/continuous activity, tech support is provided
to interested hospitals for conducting Continuing Medical Education (CME);
operations of Hub are monitored and continuous follow-up is done with all users
for optimum utilisation
‘EDUSAT’, India’s first thematic satellite dedicated
exclusively for educational services, was used extensively to cater to a wide
range of interactive educational delivery modes like one-way TV broadcast,
video conferencing, computer conferencing, web-based instructions, etc. EDUSAT
had manifold objectives - to supplement the curriculum-based teaching, imparting
effective teacher training, providing access to quality resource persons and new
technologies, thus finally resulting in taking education to every nook and
corner of India. EDUSAT provided connectivity to schools, colleges and higher
levels of education and also supported non-formal education including
EDUSAT Programme was implemented in three phases: pilot,
semi-operational and operational phases. Pilot projects were conducted during
2004 in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh with 300 terminals. The
experiences of pilot projects were adopted in semi-operational phase. During
semi- operational phase, almost all the states and major national agencies were
covered under EDUSAT programme.
The networks implemented under EDUSAT programme comprise of
two types of terminals, namely, Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) and
Receive Only Terminals (ROTs). Many states have expressed their keen interest to
upgrade their networks and DOS is extending necessary technical assistance
towards upgradation and expansion.
The meteorological satellite data of INSAT is processed and
disseminated by INSAT Meteorological Data Processing System (IMDPS) of India
Meteorological Department (IMD) At present, INSAT/GSAT satellites carrying
meteorological payloads are supporting weather forecasting services. IMDPS is
capable to receive and process the data of all three existing geostationary
meteorological satellites. The performance of the system has been maintained to
the level of 98% operation efficiency (24x365 bases). The output generated by
the system is used for efficient and successful forecasting the major weather
events, particularly major cyclones in the past.
Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SAS&R)
India is a member of the international COSPAS-SARSAT
programme for providing distress alert and position location service through
LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit Search And Rescue) satellite system. Under this
programme, India has established two Local User Terminals (LUTs), one at Lucknow
and the other at Bengaluru. The Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC) is located
at ISTRAC, Bengaluru. The system is operational from the past 24 years.
Standard Time and Frequency Signal Dissemination Services
A Standard Time and Frequency Signal (STFS) Dissemination
Service using INSAT system is provided by National Physical Laboratory. This
service is available round-the-clock in a broadcast mode and is receivable on a
set up consisting of receive antenna, a front-end converter, an FM demodulator
and a microprocessor controlled signal decoder. The service consists of a train
of 5 KHz bursts signal, which is frequency modulated on the carrier. The timing
service has a precision of better than one microsecond and accuracy of better
than 20 microseconds.
GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN)
The implementation of GAGAN has numerous benefits to the
aviation sector in terms of fuel saving, saving in equipment cost, flight
safety, increased air space capacity, efficiency, enhancement of reliability,
reduction in workload for operators, coverage of oceanic area for air traffic
control, high position accuracy, etc. Directorate General of Civil Aviation
(DGCA) certified GAGAN for enroute services (RNP 0.1) on the December 30, 2013
and further certified for precision approach (APV 1) on April 21, 2015. With
this, GAGAN signal is available for both civil Aviation and Non-Aviation users.
GAGAN Payloads are operational through GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15 satellites.
Some of the benefits GAGAN is expected to bring for Civil
Aviation sector are:
In addition to aviation sector, GAGAN is expected to bring
benefits to other sectors like:
Some of the specific application initiatives are summarised
Surveying: (a) Karnataka forest department has used
GAGAN dongle (a low end receiver devised to receive and process GAGAN) for
forest surveys. (b) AAI is using GAGAN based surveys for airport survey
requirements. (c) NRSC is using GAGAN for Ground Control Point Library
Railways: NRSC, along with Indian Railways, are
experimenting on various GAGAN based applications, particularly in providing
unmanned level crossing warning to drivers using GAGAN – BHUVAN applications.
NRSC is doing pilot work on Train tracking using GPS-GAGAN.
Marine: DG, Shipping had a meeting at ISRO HQ and is
in the process of assessing GAGAN for marine operations and are coordinating for
Space weather studies: GAGAN data is being used for
space weather studies by SAC/ISAC and has also been used for developing regional
IONO model for Asia Pacific region.
Applications of IRNSS
Two types of services are envisaged by using IRNSS, namely
Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and
Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the
authorised users. The IRNSS System will provide a position accuracy of better
than 20 m in the primary service area.
Some applications of IRNSS are:
Disaster Management Support (DMS) Programme
The processed data and information were sent to Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National
Disaster Response Force (NDRF), in addition to uploading to Bhuvan and NDEM web
portals of ISRO. The information derived from satellite data is shared among
various international agencies for unifying the efforts and coordinating rescue
Early Warning Systems Development: Medium range flood
forecast models were developed for the many river basins and operationally used
in real-time in collaboration with Central Water Commission. Web-enabled spatial
flood early warning system has been developed and being implemented in real-time
during the monsoon periods.
An experimental early warning system for rainfall triggered
landslides was developed and implemented along the pilgrimage route corridors
leading to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath as well as along the
Pithoragarh-Malpa route in Uttarakhand. The early warning is generated based on
the statistical relation between the spatial (geological, morphological and
terrain factors) and temporal (triggering factor; primarily long term rainfall
events and the triggered landslides) controls of slope failure.
Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad has developed a
model for thunderstorm predictions. Further, a prediction model for heat waves
was developed in 2015. Satellite derived information such as landuse/ land
cover, vegetation cover, albedo, etc., are major influencing factors for the
model. The experimental forecast output is overlaid on a GIS format with base
data layers such as district boundaries, roads, railway lines, land use/land
cover, etc. Both the forecasts were made available in MOSDAC and the links were
given in Bhuvan and NDEM portals.
National Database for Emergency Management (NDEM):
NDEM version 2.0 was launched with improved features and functions on ISRO
satellite based Virtual Private Network (VPN). This portal consists of
multi-scale geospatial database covering base, thematic, infrastructure,
disaster specific products and satellite imagery along with a set of customised
decision support tools. Generation of multi-scale geospatial services for 36
States / UTs at 1:50,000 scale, 209 out of 350 most vulnerable and multi hazard
prone districts at 1:10,000 scale and high resolution satellite data for 210
towns has been completed. Satellite data derived value added disaster specific
products (~209) covering 11 States covering disaster events in 2015 were hosted
on NDEM portal. Mobile apps and user manuals were also uploaded in NDEM private
and public portals for better utilisation of the services. Simultaneously, NDEM
Public portal is hosted on ISRO Bhuvan platform through internet connectivity.
Seven regional training programmes for Central/State
government departments (150 officers) have been organised across the country for
the familiarisation of NDEM private and public portals for enabling the better
utilisation of NDEM products and services.
Aerial survey for large-scale mapping: Close contour
flood plain mapping is being carried out using airborne LiDAR / LFDC data for
use in flood inundation modelling and flood depth assessment.
Communication Support: The satellite based satellite
communication network, by interconnecting the National Emergency Operations
Centre (NEOC) at MHA, the PMO, and the State Emergency Operations Centres
(SEOCs) for Ministry of Home Affairs, is being maintained operational.
Satellite Aided Search and Rescue: The Satellite Aided
Search and Rescue system which provides services to 7 neighbouring countries.
Online Beacon registration system has been upgraded based on user requirements.
International cooperation in DMS: ISRO has carried out
the Lead Role in International Charter Operations during April-October 2015.
During this period, ISRO managed 17 activations, published three communications
and Universal Access was extended to 5 countries. During 2015, satellite data
support (28 scenes) were provided for 10 emergency requests from Vietnam,
Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal and Taiwan for floods,
oil spill, landslides and Typhoon disasters.
Remote Sensing Applications
Remote sensing application projects at National, State and
Local levels are being carried out through well established multi-pronged
implementation architecture of National Natural Resources Management System
(NNRMS) in the country. Major ISRO Centres, namely, National Remote Sensing
Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad and Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad spearhead
all such applications development and implementation initiatives from ISRO/DOS.
Regional Remote Sensing Centres (RRSCs) of NRSC, North-Eastern Space Application
Centre (NE-SAC), Shillong and the State Remote Sensing Application Centres play
a key role in implementation and reaching out to the grassroots for effective
utilisation of the technology. User Ministries of State and Central Government
departments and other institutions play a major role in utilising remote sensing
technology in their own departments. In addition, private sector,
Non-Governmental Organisations and academia also utilise this technology in
different developmental sectors of the country.
National Land Use/Land Cover (LU/LC) mapping on
1:250,000: LU/LC assessment is made using semi-automated approach which includes
automated processing of AWiFS quadrant data and classification using rule based
approach. Water spread as well as snow cover information is generated though
automated process. Rule based data integration of temporal datasets was adopted
to derive final LU/LC output.
Crop Acreage and Production Estimation: The
semi-physical spectral-spatial yield model was developed for various crops and
provided to Mahalanobis National Crop Forecasting Centre (MNCFC) and required
training is being imparted to MNCFC personnel for running the model and deriving
planting date from time series NDVI data.
Coordinated programme on Horticulture Assessment and
Management using Geoinformatics (CHAMAN): This national level project
has been taken up, with the major objectives of (i) area assessment and
production forecasting of major horticultural crops in selected districts in
India; (ii) geospatial applications for horticultural development and management
planning; and (iii) detailed scientific field level studies for developing
technology for crop identification, yield modelling and disease assessment.
Temporal high-resolution data (LISS-IV and Cartosat-1) has been used for
delineation of spatial extent of the crop of interest. A mobile application
‘CHAMAN app’ was developed to aid in faster and efficient collection of ground
information, as well as in building geodatabase through Bhuvan platform.
Cotton crop area mapping: Multi-temporal satellite
(Landsat-8) data was classified and interpreted for cotton crop identification,
discrimination and mapping for Wardha Taluka in Wardha district, Maharashtra.
Land Use/Land Cover, forest, settlement, water bodies and ancillary data was
used to mask the non-crop area. It was observed that around 17,900 ha area of
study area was covered by cotton crop (21.4% of total geographical area). The
results were subsequently validated in the field.
Indian Forest Cover Change Alert System (InFCCAS): A
remote sensing based technique was developed for automated detection of forest
cover loss of an area greater than 2 hectare for rapid annual monitoring. The
forest pixels are identified on Resourcesat-2 AWiFS data (20 x 20 tiles) for
Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand,
Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana,
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal).
Study on Sundarban mangrove system: The mangrove
ecosystem of Sundarbans region plays an important ecological and
socio-economical role in both India and Bangladesh. The present study is aimed
at analysing the impact of cyclone of varying intensity and at different period
of phonological cycle on mangrove forests in Sundarbans region. MODIS
time-series (2001-2011), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and Land Surface
Temperature (LST) products were used to compute the MODIS Global Disturbance
Index (MGDI). In the present study, instantaneous disturbance caused by the
super cyclones was analysed using MGDI approach. The combined impact of ‘SIDR’
and ‘Rashmi’ was successfully captured by the MGDI images of 2008. In case of
‘Aila’, the disturbed area was reasonably less in comparison to the areas with
higher EVI changes (-50% to -30%). The spatial extent of disturbance in each
island was mapped, which can further be integrated on a temporal scale to
generate spatio- temporal severity map. This will help forest management to
identify chronically disturbed areas, which may have potential for biological
Inventory and Monitoring of Glacial Lakes/Water
Bodies: The project is being carried out at the behest of Central Water
Commission. The inventory of glacial lakes and water bodies was carried out for
the year 2009 using IRS satellite data and monitoring in the months from June to
October was completed for last four years (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Similar
activity for the year 2015 was taken up in June, 2015 for 477 glacial lakes and
water bodies. Monthly monitoring reports are submitted.
Assessment of Irrigation Potential Utilisation (I.P.U)
using geospatial data: The study has been initiated in April 2015 to
assess Irrigation Potential Utilisation (I.P.U) under Major & Medium (M&M)
irrigation projects in Krishna basin using the geo-spatial data. Temporal AWiFS
data, canal network, project boundaries and LULC data available under various
projects (India WRIS, SIS DP, NRC) are being utilised. The data bases such as
basin, sub-basin boundaries, M&M projects, their canal network, river/ stream
network and other base layers are being organised.
Re-assessment of basin scale water resources using Space
inputs: ISRO and Central Water Commission (CWC) jointly executed
demonstrative pilot studies in Godavari and Brahmani- Baitarani river basins
wherein Space based geo-spatial inputs were used to estimate basin-level mean
annual water resources. Ministry of Water Resources recommended upscaling the
study to other river basins of the country by regional offices of CWC. CWC
regional offices will carry out the study and NRSC will provide technical
support and hand holding during the study execution.
Monitoring of Gas Pipelines of Gas Authority of India Ltd
(GAIL): GAIL has about 15,000 line km gas pipeline network in India.
GAIL and ISRO have undertaken a joint project for studying feasibility of remote
sensing, as an alternative/ complement to the helicopter survey, for monitoring
the Right of Usage (ROU) of the pipeline for any physical encroachments. A pilot
study has been carried out for “Dahej-Vemar-Vijaipur” pipeline segment of about
610 line km. Results indicates that satellite remote sensing techniques (high
resolution data) can be used to monitor the pipeline assets through periodic
repeat coverage (say monthly) during the cloud-free season. A web application
was also developed to demonstrate the usefulness and quick communication within
the GAIL monitoring teams.
Island Information System (IIS): Department of Border
Management, Ministry of Home Affairs constituted a Task force for holistic
development of Islands in Maritime zones of India, with participation of all
concerned Ministries/ Departments/ Agencies. Towards this, ISRO has prepared a
geospatial inventory of all islands using satellite images and developed an
Island Information System. A total of 1238 islands have been identified and
reconciled by NRSC/ISRO, SOI, NHO and RGI. The Island Information System (IIS)
has been shared with different ministries and departments.
Monitoring of Integrated Watershed Management Programme
(IWMP) watersheds using geospatial technologies: Bhuvan – SRISHTI, a Web
based GIS application (Geoportal), has been developed to enable monitoring and
evaluation of IWMP watersheds, using satellite remote sensing and sample field
data (collected using mobile application). This Geoportal would facilitate
monitoring and evaluation of all IWMP watersheds for 10 states and 50 identified
districts in 28 states. Bhuvan – DRISHTI, an android based interface tool, has
been developed for field data capture of the development activities undertaken
for the IWMP Projects and includes a facility to upload photos to Bhuvan IWMP
Space-based Information Support for Decentralised Planning
(SIS-DP): The project aims at providing web based spatial information
comprising of ortho-rectified satellite image, thematic and field data, resource
maps, cadastral maps, administrative boundaries, infrastructure layers, climate
and socioeconomic data which will act as input for Decentralised Planning at
Panchayat level. The project is being executed by respective State Remote
Sensing Applications Centres (SRSAC) under the technical guidance and financial
support from Overlay of cadastre maps over high resolution satellite image has
been completed for 5 States (AP, Telangana, Haryana, Assam and Kerala) and 2
Districts of West Bengal; Bhuvan-Panchayats portal version - 2.0 and Mobile app
for Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI) asset data collection has been demonstrated
for operational use. Training on decentralised planning and use of SIS-DP data
for planning is being implemented with PRIs through Bhuvan Panchayat.
Snow and Glacier Studies: It is a joint initiative of
Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Department of Space.
Retreat/advance for 73 glaciers spread over different parts of the Himalayan
region were estimated using CORONA (1965) and LISS-III (2001) images. Snow cover
Atlas of the Bhutan was completed.
Spatial modelling of fluoride contamination in ground water:
The spatial modeling has been for fluoride distribution in
ground water using knowledge guided models, data driven models and the
combination of both. Fluoride prediction maps generated using hybrid neuro-fuzzy
integrated approach compared favourably among the four mathematical models used,
namely, weighted overlay, fuzzy overlay, artificial neural network and hybrid
neuro-fuzzy models for prediction of fluoride in ground water. Results were
validated with field data.
Groundwater storage assessment coupling hydromorphology
with lithology: The standard procedure of ground water resource
estimation is based on the specific yield parameters of each rock type
(lithology) derived through pumping test analysis. However, terrain conditions
in the form of geomorphological variations have an important bearing on the net
ground water recharge. An attempt was made to use both lithology and
geomorphology as input variables to estimate the recharge from different sources
in each lithology unit influenced by the geomorphic conditions (lith-geom)
season wise separately.
Surface Energy Balance over Agro-ecosystems using Large
Aperture Scintillometry: The unique advantage of Scintillometry is its
ability to calculate areal averaged sensible heat fluxes over spatial distances
comparable to those observed by satellites. The LAS system was set up in 2014 at
the agricultural research farm of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI),
New Delhi. The LAS measures atmospheric turbulence and heat flux over path
lengths between 250 m and 6000 m.
The LAS was augmented with an Automatic Weather Station (AWS)
having sensors of net radiometer, pyranometer, anemometer (2 levels), humidity
and temperature probes (2 heights) and a soil heat flux plate at 10 cm depth.
The 5 min fluxes of net radiation (Rn), sensible heat (H), latent heat (LE) and
soil heat (G) fluxes were averaged at hourly intervals. All the fluxes were
integrated over the day to analyse their seasonal pattern. Using H and LE daily
integrated fluxes, daily values of evaporative fraction, EF = LE/ (H+LE) are
calculated and analysed for their seasonal pattern.
Monitoring and Assessment of ecosystem process in North
For sustainable environmental development, making disaster
resilient society and improved livelihood in the North Western Himalayan (NWH)
region, an interdisciplinary research project on “Monitoring and Assessment of
Ecosystem Process in NWH” is being carried out at IIRS, Dehradun involving large
number of research organisations with several sub-themes as given hereunder:
NATIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
Realising the need for a comprehensive information base to
build long term data records on various Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) for
environmental and climate studies with inter and intra-departmental linkages,
ISRO formulated the National Information System for Climate and Environment
Studies (NICES). The mandate of NICES is to build an information base for
climate change impact assessment and mitigation.
Earth Observation Application Sciences
The R&D in various field of EO is a continuous endeavour of
Space Applications Centre of ISRO is involved in
applications of remote sensing and GIS technology in geosciences and
executes several projects for societal benefits. Some of the major
thrust research areas are related to coastal and marine geosciences,
geodynamics, geo-hazards, mineral, hydrocarbon and geo-archaeological
Production forecasting of important agricultural crops using satellite
remote sensing data initiated under the project “Crop Acreage and
Production Estimation” by Space Applications Centre and carried out over
a period of two decades at the behest of Ministry of Agriculture, Govt.
of India (MOA). Subsequently a more inclusive model FASAL (Forecasting
agricultural output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based
observations) was initiated in 2007-08.
Human activities contribute to climate change by
causing changes in Earth’s atmosphere in the amounts of greenhouse
gases, aerosols (small particles), and cloudiness. Climate change forms
one of the most important global environmental challenges, with
implications for food production, water supply, health, energy, etc. It
is essential to study the impacts of climate change and thereby suggest
mitigation measures. Goal of space based global change observation,
together with other observations and studies, is to provide a sound
scientific basis for developing national and international policy
relating to natural and human induced changes in the Earth System.
Oceans occupy almost 3/4th of the surface of our
planet. They have profound impact on climate and weather. The current
research includes Advanced Ocean State Forecast (AOSF) using numerical
models and space-borne observations, Ocean Process Studies, and
development of Data Assimilation (DA) techniques.
The Ocean contains thousands of microscopic, free
floating, single-celled plants called “phytoplankton” capable of
making their own food by harvesting the energy from sunlight, carbon
dioxide and nutrients present in the upper well-lit layers of the ocean.
This process known as photosynthesis also liberates oxygen and makes
possible all animal life in the ocean. Phytoplankton are the oceanic
equivalents of land plants and forms the basis of marine food chain. In
addition, they play an important role in pulling the carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere by exporting the dead cells to the ocean interior and
The study of Atmospheric Sciences is a major programme. ISRO centre
develops state of art techniques for the analysis and forecasting of the
weather and climate from regional to global scales using various
satellite data. The space based inputs are used by IMD and other
agencies for their forecasts.
Cryospheric studies on the earth surface include inventory, dynamics,
changes, and interaction with hydrosphere, atmosphere etc. of snow, ice
cover on land, sea ice and permafrost. For the last more than two and
half decades ISRO has been contributing to the development of
methods/techniques for extraction and dissemination of reliable and
quick information pertaining to polar and Himalayan cryosphere using
data from Indian Remote Sensing Satellites.
ISRO carries out studies related to land hydrological
modeling and applications. It involves retrieval of hydro-meteorological
parameters from satellite and modeling of Hydrological Processes from
field to National scale. Timely and reliable assessment of available
water resources through satellites and models provide important input to
devise strategies and water management in the country.