Google Earth has never been given access to GOI (Government Of India) data, so its usefulness for South Asian studies has been somewhat impaired, although Google has welcomed local user generated content as highlighted in its Maplandia site which makes it somewhat more useful, for example, to orient study abroad students. The Indian government's system, Bhuvan, was released in fall of 2009 and offers many of the same functionality as Google Earth but with emphasis on the subcontinent and with some government data built in -- e.g., political boundaries down to the district, town and village level. The site now is quite slow -- probably because of the initial deluge of interest. It requires use of IE 6 or higher and requires download of client software. Then, like Google Maps and Google Earth plugin, Bhuvan will open in the web browser. If you'd like to learn more about how to use this and other GIS (Geographic Information System) resources, Emory Libraries offers training and software support for GIS in its Electronic Data Center. In addition, Emory Libraries has a significant number of atlases and maps of India in print and on CD-ROM.
From the website: "Bhuvan - A Geoportal of Indian Space Research Organisation showcasing Indian Imaging Capabilities in Multi-sensor, Multi-platform and Multi-temporal domain. The portal gives a gateway to explore and discover virtual earth in 3D space with specific emphasis on Indian region.
Basic features of Bhuvan:
- Access, explore and visualise 2D and 3D image data along with rich thematic information on Soil, wasteland, water resources etc.
- Visualise multi-resolution, multi-sensor, multi-temporal image data
- Superpose administrative boundaries of choice on images as required
- Visualisation of AWS ( Automatic Weather Stations) data/information in a graphic view and use tabular weather data of user choice
- Fly to locations ( Flies from the current location directly to the selected location)
- Heads-Up Display ( HUD) naviation controls ( Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)
- Navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)
- 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)
- Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)
- Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)
- Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows to save to a external file)
- Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)
- Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects the lighting on the terrain)
- There would be many more value added functions and facilities which will be added into the package from time to time.
- Particular interest of ISRO/DOS would be to provide such functionalities to common man so that he/she adopts participatory approach with scientists to solve simple problems easily and interactively.
Advanced functionalities to be provided in future versions
- Contour map ( Displays a colorized terrain map and contour lines)
- Terrain profile ( Displays the terrain elevation profile along a path)
- Draw tools (Creates simples markers, free hand lines, urban designs)
- Navigation map (to jump to and view locations in the 3D India)
- Urban Design Tools (to build roads, junctions and traffic lights in an urban setting)"
Here is a screenshot:
Submitted by Tim Bryson, South Asia and Religious Studies Librarian, December 17, 2009.
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