Maharashtra has used aerial survey carried out by Terra Drone India, a subsidiary of Japan-based Terra Drone Corp and has updated its decade-old agricultural maps. The move comes as an attempt to make water management in the store more efficient.
Terra Drone India on Thursday said it has completed the aerial survey of 4,200 sq km of agricultural land for the Water Resources Department of the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corp (MKVDC) in India.
A total of 1,085 villages and farm boundaries were identified for surveying using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones.
The survey also helped government officials get a clear picture of the crops sown in 4,200 sq km of land and the type of irrigation being used for the same.
Prateek Srivastava, CEO, Terra Drone India, in a statement said, "When we superimposed the aerial images acquired by our drones on the Maharashtra government's old maps, it was discovered that in some areas, unirrigated land was being used for cultivation purposes, while in others, previously fertile land had been converted into human settlements."
Using drones allowed MKVDC to update its archaic maps in half the time of traditional surveying methods.
The survey is in line with MKVDC's mission of safeguarding the availability of water in tail-end agricultural fields. The state-owned enterprise manages irrigation projects in western Maharashtra.
Terra Drone India said it surveyed an average of 120 sq km of area per day, acquiring images with 2 cm/pixel resolution.
Despite numerous weather constraints, aerial data acquisition was completed within two months, the company said.
The Water Resources Department of MKVDC also needed information about the types of crops being sown and the irrigation methods adopted by the farmers.
For this, Terra Drone India deployed field surveying teams which collected supplemental information to bolster the data acquired by the drones.
"Traditionally, governments have used human-centric methods of surveying. These methods not only lack verification and evidence, they are also prone to manual errors," said Polu Sreedhar, Chief Operating Officer, Terra Drone India.
"Drone surveys, meanwhile, gives organisations clear evidence in the form of aerial imagery which they can use to improve their efficiency and increase their revenue," Sreedhar added.