Drones Current Affairs - 2019

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For the first time Survey of India to deploy 300 drones for mapping country

Survey of India (SoI), the oldest scientific department of country will for the first time rely on drones to map the country. SoI which is India’s National Survey and Mapping Organization is in charge of mapping and surveying entire country. SoI is affliated to the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Key Highlights

Objective:

  • To provide good high-resolution foundation maps. Also, High-resolution maps will facilitate digitisation of land titles in villages.
  • To map 75% of India’s geography (about 2.4 million sq km of 3.2 million sq km) within next two years.

To fulfill above objective the organisation aims to procure about 300 drones and so far about 30 have been sourced for the mega exercise.

As a precursor to undertake such drone-based mapping exercises, Survey of India has signed agreements with districts in Haryana (6), Karnataka (2) and Maharashtra (2). Every square kilometre mapped by drones will be encapsulated in 2500 pictures and thus be a store of digital data.

Benefits

Currently the best SoI maps have a resolution of 1:250000 (i.e. 1 cm on the map represents 2500 cm on ground), however, new maps under the project will have a 1:500 resolution (i.e. 1 cm on map will represent 500 cm).

Other than unprecedented detail, a consequence of mapping will be creating high resolution maps of land in villages thereby facilitating digitisation of land titles in villages.

Sorting rural issues: A major consequence of drone-based exercise will be mapping of settled habitations in villages. Based on availability of accurate maps, residents will finally be able to get property cards as well as proper legal titles to their lands.

Navy Drill of Iran Velayat 97

Iran will hold a three-day navy drill Velayat 97 in a vast area of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean including a sensitive global shipping route.

Features of the Velayat 97

  • The three-day navy drill would be held in the waters of Strait of Hormuz, Makran coast, Oman Sea and the north of the Indian Ocean, covering 2 million square kilometres.
  • The navy drill Velayat 97 aims to evaluate the navy’s equipment, practice launching weapons and enable the troops to gain readiness for a real battle.
  • The three-day drill will showcase Iran’s submarines, warships, helicopters and drones, according to the admiral.
  • The drill also includes missile launches from the vessels.

Will Velayat 97 further heighten the tensions?

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital international transit route. American forces routinely pass this route and it has earlier witnessed some tense encounters between American and Iranian forces.

Iran’s show of military might through Velayat 97 comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran’s main regional rival Saudi Arabia and with the United States of America which last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.