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Now, drones to help map nation’s resources | Kolkata News

Kolkata: The National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO), the city-based central government organisation that makes geographic maps across the country, is all set to take a tech leap and use drone technology to map inaccessible areas both at the urban and rural levels. Currently, NATMO officials trudge remote and unreachable areas on foot to map geographical features.
Speaking to TOI, NATMO director Tapati Banerjee said drones would be used extensively for precision-level planning as well as large-scale mapping.
“The technology that has been used extensively for surveillance and cinematography can be of extensive help in thematic mapping and cartography. Not only can larger areas be mapped in a shorter time with no hurdles to encounter, we can achieve greater accuracy,” she said.
Even as the organisation plans to use drones for large-scale village-level mapping, it has already conducted a pilot study on resource-mapping in urban areas and is willing to help both Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation to map the potential for rooftop solar energy and greenery in Kolkata, Salt Lake and New Town.
“It is possible to check out the area that is available on roofs of buildings and the amount of sunlight they receive to then arrive at the solar generation potential. Similarly, with greenery coming at a premium in cities, civic authorities can check out how rooftops can be utilized to add greenery. Even otherwise, a survey can be carried out on the existing green, brown or gray patches to then take up a greening strategy,” Banerjee explained.
The drone technology would be particularly handy to monitor the vast East Kolkata Wetlands and carry out a real-time inventory of waterbodies and encroachment to get a sense of the current state of the Ramsar site.
Mapping with drones is done using a technique called photogrammetry, which is the science of making measurements from photographs. It has also led to the development of sophisticated 3D mapping software. The technology removes the guesswork when it comes to judging a range of data, and could potentially help save time and money in surveys.

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