New Delhi: Lending a hand to the government’s smart cities programme, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will begin mapping 500 cities next month, highlighting the features that are expected to help urban planners devise master plans for them.

The maps will be hosted on Isro’s geoportal website Bhuvan.

To be developed by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), the maps will use satellite images to show features such as land use, water bodies, geomorphology, urban sprawl, wastelands and floods hazards.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the ministry of urban development.

Eventually, NRSC will map 4,041 urban bodies at a scale of 1:4,000, which will be put up on geoportal Bhuvan, which hosts several of the space agency’s remote-sensing applications.

“The urban development ministry and Isro are working on a master plan formulation of these cities so that a vision document can be made on how the city is to be developed," said V.K. Dadhwal, director, NRSC.

“Nearly 2,500 town planners across India have been trained to use the information that will be provided on the Bhuvan portal for master plans," he said.

These 500 cities, with a population of more than 100,000 each, are part of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), launched on 26 June.

The mission aims to focus on areas such as water supply, sewerage, stormwater drains, pedestrian facilities, public transport, and improve amenities such as parks, other green spaces and recreation centres.

“An integral element of this project is citizen involvement. As the master plans by town planners are put up on the Bhuvan portal, the public can participate and give feedback on land use for instance, or green spaces," said Y.V.N. Kirshnamurthy, scientific secretary, Isro.

According to Dadhwal, Bhuvan sees 5,000 visits every day and around 27,000 per month.

“Bhuvan is India’s Google—exclusively for the Indian subcontinent. It is important to increase awareness regarding applications of the geoportal," said Jitendra Singh, Union minister of state, atomic energy and space, and minister of state for the prime minister’s office.

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