The Shillong-based North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation has tested unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assess several regional problems, ranging from measuring diseased paddy fields to damage caused by frequent landslides in the north eastern region of the country.
- NE-SAC has taken the initiative for design and assembling of UAVs for various applications.
- UAVs can perform efficient surveys for disaster-prone or physically inaccessible areas, quick damage assessment of landslides, floods and earthquakes and enable timely relief measures.
- Among various services provided on request to the north-eastern States using the drones, NE-SAC mapped the area affected by landslides along Meghalaya’s life line, NH40. It gave the extent of damage caused to pest-infested paddy fields in Naramari village of Assam.
- Drone-based studies are new and currently confined to few north-eastern States. Data from ISRO’s remote sensing satellites are generally combined with ground-based details. Use of drones cuts much leg work that ground surveyors must take up.
- The NE centre was started in the year 2000 to provide Space technology-based communication and technology support to the region.
- The centre has the mandate to develop high technology infrastructure support to enable NE states to adopt space technology inputs for their development.
- At present, NE-SAC is providing developmental support by undertaking specific application projects using remote sensing, GIS, satellite communication and conducting space science research.