SHIVAMOGGA: For the first time, the forest department used a drone to assess the encroachment of forest areas at Shettihalli and Chitrashettihalli villages in the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary of the Shivamogga district. The department claimed that this is the first time in the country that a drone was used to conduct such an assessment.Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has been helping authorities survey and accurately mark land. But, the forest department has tried a new way to conduct the survey with more accuracy.
“There is a proverb that what cannot be measured cannot be conserved. If we want to conserve the forest, we have to measure it. As all of us know, GPS has been used in the survey. We update the data in a computer system after conducting the GPS mapping. But, while doing so, people have doubts if the survey was conducted properly or not. If the land area is large, it requires more effort. They have to go to each place to conduct the GPS mapping, which is difficult,” Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Srinivasulu said, adding that he thought of using drones to address the problem.
“What we are doing now is going to the area where we want to conduct the survey. We are flying drones at a height of 100 or 150 feet. The drone takes a series of photographs. We stitch those photos and overlap them in Google Map, a process which is called ‘geo reference’. When we get a geo-referenced realistic topographic map, we can find where a house exists in the forest area and the boundary of that house. When we get the realistic topographic map, we identify the area. It helps us avoid doubts in people. The survey provides data which is realistic. We are conducting this kind of survey for the first time in the district. The effort is also the first of its kind in the state, and may be in the nation too,” he said.
When asked, why Shettihalli and Chitrashettihalli were chosen for the drone survey, the CCF said there was a demand from the people to conduct the survey in these villages. “The process of the survey which would take a month, has been finished in a few days. The survey saves time, effort, money, and more than anything, will avoid confusions in people as well as the government regarding the accuracy of surveys. If a farmland is situated in an area, the survey shows the same accurately. There is no room for confusion. I hope this kind of a survey method will be widely accepted,” Srinivasulu said, adding that the issues with regard to land can be solved through drone surveys, as the district has many cases of land disputes.