"Objectives and formation of Urban Mapping Cell in the Department of Town and Country Planning"
Comprehensive, accurate and updated base maps prepared scientifically is an essential prerequisite for the preparation of development plans and its effective implementation and enforcement. The maps are also useful not only for plan preparation but also for operation, maintenance and monitoring of various urban services provided by Municipalities, Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWS & DB), KEB, KPTCL agencies and Transport Department and many other Central and State Government Departments. These maps also enable the local authorities in mobilizing the resources through updating property details for tax collection. The base maps prepared by the Department by conducting physical surveys about 20-25 years back using Plane Table are not updated periodically due to shortage of man power. Updating of the base maps for all the 237 towns by conducting surveys manually within time frame is an impossible task due to shortage of technical man power and wide gap between the time required for map preparation and the pace at which the development is taking place in the urban areas.
In the wake of rapid urbanisation, laying emphasis on development of infrastructure - roads, drains, augmenting and extension of water supply and under ground drainage system - became imperative. Massive investment in the recent past, with loan assistance from international funding agencies like the World Bank, ADB, etc., and schemes like JNNURM, gave rise to the need for complete, accurate, comprehensive and up to date maps of urban areas at large scale, prepared scientifically. Application of GIS Technology in planning and development, demands maps in digital form. It was a tall order indeed given the preparedness of the Department in terms of man-power.
There are 270 towns/cities/Census towns and the municipal area is about 5,009 sq km in Karnataka as per 2001 Census. But, considerable development has taken place outside the municipal limits and mapping has to cover not just the municipal/developed area but the area that is likely to develop in the next 15 to 20 years to prepare the perspective plans.
The Department took up mapping of urban areas on contemporary basis during the year 2001 under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environmental Management Project (KUDCEMP). The Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued, during April, 2002, no objection to the Government of Karnataka, to establish a photogrammetry unit for preparation of maps from aerial photographs and to carry out survey of urban and other areas adopting WGS84 Spheroid and UTM Projection.
KUDCEMP came to an end during the year 2006. Even before that, the Government launched, during 2003, the Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP) with the financial assistance from the World Bank. The Department proposed to continue the scheme for mapping of urban areas under the KMRP.
Preparation of base maps of urban areas involve survey by remote and/or ground method using state-of-the-art survey instruments. The tasks require the exclusive technical personnel qualified, trained in the fields of surveying, mapping by photogrammetry, cartographers, computer aided design and drafting (CADD) and in geographic information system (GIS).
In order to implement and manage the multi-disciplinary mapping works, and considering the volume of work in preparing detailed project for the World Bank, overseeing the work of mapping by outsourced agencies, and the continuous work on survey and mapping, it was imperative to set up an exclusive cell within the Department. The Empowered Committee of the KMRP approved the proposal of the Department to create the Urban Mapping Cell during February, 2008. The Government has created, through its Order No. UDD 81 NaYoSe 2008 dated 16.06.2008, the Urban Mapping Cell within the Department. The UMC has formally been come in to existence on October 3, 2008.
The Urban Mapping Cell is at the office of the Director of Town and Country Planning, headed by a Joint Director of Town & Country Planning. State Government has sanctioned 22 various posts such as Survey Specialist, Photogrammetric Specialist, CAD Operator, GIS Operator etc. as follows which will be hired on contract basis for the project period only in different stages as per requirement to carry out the mapping work.