India to Make Satellite Data Available Online

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The National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to set up a public portal to publish images and other data captured by the country's satellites.

Much of the data that will be integrated into the portal has been generated from projects within India's Department of Space, said A.S. Manjunath, deputy director of the NRSC, on Monday.

Although primarily targeted at specialized professionals, the information will be presented in a manner to make it easily accessible by general users, Manjunath added.

The portal will be trialed for the next six months. Information on sensitive defense and other security-related installations will not be available to the public, Manjunath said

Google's Earth mapping application was criticized by the Indian government, which argued that easy online availability of detailed maps of countries could be misused by terrorists.

The NRSC has not decided how it will filter information to ensure it follows Indian government prohibitions on publishing sensitive information, Manjunath said. One option is to publish low-resolution satellite photos.

The new portal will combine remote sensing data from Indian satellites with information such as population figures and other data from various government agencies, Manjunath said. The information will be introduced on the portal in phases, he added.

The NRSC expects the public availability of its data to form the basis for new research and applications in areas such as geographic information systems, agriculture, weather, resource management and rural development, Manjunath said.

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