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ISRO's Bhuvan, a Google Earth Competitor launched

Google Earth’s got some competition now — from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which today unveiled its beta version of Bhuvan (meaning earth in Sanskrit).

Bhuvan is a revolutionary mapping application by ISRO that claims to serve images with far higher resolution than Google Earth. Bhuvan will use images taken by ISRO’s seven remote sensing satellites. It also provides tools for measuring, drawing, saving, printing and visualizing thematic information. The resolutions currently on offer are good enough to view a vehicle moving on a road quite clearly.

But there is something special in Bhuvan that keeps Google Earth and Wikimapia aside. Bhuvan will have a greater zooming efficiency that will help you recognize details upto a 3 storey building and all its data will be updated every year, unlike Google and Wikimapia which updates in every 4 years.

Bhuvan, an ambitious project of ISRO was started to take Indian images and thematic information in multiple spatial resolutions to people through a web portal through easy access to information on basic natural resources in the geospatial domain.

Bhuvan Features

  1. Visualise 2D and 3D image data along with rich thematic information on Soil, wasteland, water resources etc.
  2. Fly to locations ( Flies from the current location directly to the selected location)
  3. Heads-Up Display ( HUD) naviation controls ( Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)
  4. Navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)
  5. 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)
  6. Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)
  7. Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)
  8. Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows to save to a external file)
  9. Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)
  10. Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects the lighting on the terrain)

The Difference of Bhuvan and Google Earth in a Nutshell
  1. Google Earth’s Zoom levels up to 200 mt – ISRO’s Bhuvan claims to Zoom levels up to 10 mt
  2. Google Earth: Single layer information – ISRO’s Bhuvan claims to provide you with Multi-layer information
  3. Google Earth: Images upgraded every 4 years - ISRO’s Bhuvan claims that Images will be upgraded every year
  4. Google Earth: No alternate viewing options – ISRO’s Bhuvan claims that there are options of viewing on different dates
  5. Google Earth: Uses international satellites – ISRO’s Bhuvan claims to Uses Indian satellites
  6. Google Earth allows users to host content. ISRO's Bhuvan is only viewable

How to Download & Install Bhuvan?

Download the Bhuvan plugin from here (its actually Skyline’s terraexplorer plugin) and Microsoft’s DirectX.

In order to install the plugin, you need to have the administrator privilege in your machine. The product works only in IE and is quite buggy to start with.
All said and done, the product is very well timed – we are close to celebrate India’s independence day and Bhuvan is one crown that ISRO will be known for in the coming years.