The State of Karnataka is endowed with rich biodiversity and bountiful natural resources. It has a geographical area of 1,91,791 sqkm and is situated on a tableland where the Western and Eastern Ghat ranges converge into the Nilgiri hill complex. The Western Ghats are one of the hot spots of biodiversity in the world with numerous species of flora and fauna inhabiting the ecosystem. The State spans about 750 km from North to South and about 400 km from East to West with the general elevation varying from 300 to 900 m above mean sea level is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the Western side. Karnataka has a 320 km long coastline with some exquisite beaches. The State has 30 districts and occupies the eighth place in the country in terms of area and population.

The sustainable development of the natural resources is of paramount importance in order to preserve them for posterity, as they are under relentless degradation by the anthropogenic activities over the years.

In this context, utilization of frontier technologies like satellite remote sensing and GIS for their efficient management is gaining significance. Realizing the capability of satellite remote sensing as an excellent tool for getting a bird’s eye view of the natural resources for planning and development of the State, the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC), formerly known as Karnataka State Remote Sensing Technology and Utilization Centre (KSRSTUC) was established by the GOK. In the year 1989, the Centre was operationalized as the major Government Department under the Department of Science & Technology, GOK. KSRSTUC was transferred to the Planning Department in the year 1992. In 1997, it was declared as an autonomous organization under Planning Department and renamed as Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC). The Centre was transferred to the Department of Information Technology and Biotechnology, GOK in the year 1999.

KSRSAC is harnessing the potentials of remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques for developing a digital database of natural resources and urban sprawl in the State. The database developed by the Centre has been of immense importance for the Line Departments of the State for development and planning. Hence, geospatial information is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for decision making.

Over the last two and a half decades, KSRSAC has been engaged in the operational utilization of satellite remote sensing for activities such as:

image Water resources management
image Land use and land cover mapping
image Agriculture – Crop Acreage and Production Estimation (CAPE)
image Command area development and management
image Wasteland mapping
image Vegetation cover and change detection
image Environmental impact assessment
image Geomorphology and geological studies
image Ground water targeting
image Coastal zone studies
image Urban and regional planning
image Rural development
image Watershed prioritization, planning and evaluation
image Forest management
image Soil resource mapping
image Environment and ecology
image Satellite communication
image Distance education
image Telemedicine, etc.

In order to enhance the effectiveness of remote sensing and GIS techniques as decision support tools in sustainable development of natural resources in the State, the KSRSAC has been working in close association with the Line Departments to take up user-specific projects. This has resulted in a paradigm shift in the perception of officers towards the use of remote sensing as a viable tool for planning and decision making. In recognition of the immense potential and professional competence, KSRSAC was designated in 2002 as the Nodal Agency for monitoring and execution of remote sensing and GIS based activities in the State.