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Application of remote sensing and GIS for sustainable development

India has been elected to lead the Working Group VII/2 of the International Society of
Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) for the term 1996-2000. This Working Group deals
with the “Application of Remote Sensing for Sustainable Development” under the Commission’s
main theme, “Resource and Environment Monitoring.”
The explosive growth of population, constantly depleting natural resources and alarming rates
of degradation of environment have forced the planners and managers alike to think and act in terms
of sustainable use of natural resources. The latter basically refers to the maintenance of a fragile
balance between productivity functions, and conservation practices through identification and
monitoring of problem areas and proposes application of alternative landuse practices for socio
economic development, while aiming at restoration and improvement of all encompassing
The sustainability of natural resources and environment has become a matter of primary
concern for one and all, considering the explosive growth of world’s population, depletion of natural
resources at a very fast pace combined with all round degradation of environment. With a larger
part of world’s population inhabiting the rural areas amidst insufficient financial resources and
infrastructural facilities, it is very important that all available technologies including that of Remote
Sensing and Geographic Information System are utilised for the socio-economic as well as
environmental development of such areas.
It was with this in view that a workshop on “Environmental modelling using RS & GIS for
Sustainable development” was organised on 11 th March 1999 at the Indian Institute of Remote
Sensing, Dehradun, to coincide with the International Conference “Geoinformatics Beyond - 2000”
on Geoinformatics for natural resource assessment, monitoring and management during March 9 th -
11 th , 1999.
The workshop course was adequately designed to include aspects of environment and its
modelling using Remote Sensing and GIS which are necessary for the understanding and
implementation of sustainable development programme, viz., Overview of space technology for
sustainable development, Role of remote sensing for land resource development, Soil mapping,
Land degradation, Forest ecosystems and ecological analysis, Hydrogeomorphological parameter
for ground water modelling, Artificial recharge and water harvesting and agricultural crop acreage
and yield estimation, and watershed mahagement/planning. These topics were covered by experts
from various units of Department of Space, viz., Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad; Regional
Remote Sensing Service Centres, Nagpur and Dehradun; Advanced Data Research Institute,
Hyderabad; National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Remote Sensing,
Dehradun; and also Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
I hope this volume will be educative, and serve as a useful handbook for those personnel who
wish to understand the intricacies of environmental modelling and its role in sustainable
Chair #
ISPRS Working Group VII/2