Satellite Imagery and Border Dispute: A perspective

Satellite Imagery and Border Dispute: A perspective

Written By: / Articles / Friday, 06 August 2021 17:31

The history of satellite imageries can be traced long back in the mid of 20th century when the Americans launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 to take images from a height of 65 miles. Subsequently, the first satellite (orbital) photographs of Earth were taken on August 14, 1959 by the U.S. Explorer 6.In the early 21stcentury satellite imagery became widely available as it was affordable, easy to use software with access to satellite imagery databases were offered by several companies and organizations.These images have many applications in meteorology, oceanography, fishing, agriculture, biodiversity conservation, forestry, landscape, geology, cartography, regional planning, education, intelligence and warfare. Nowadays, 3D maps usually created from radar images are also available which are used in multiple ways with the help of specialized remote sensing software for image interpretation and analysis of satellite imageries.
These satellite imageries came into limelight in recent times when the home ministry of the Indian government suggested to conclude the border tussle between Assam and Mizoram. Mr. Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, Govt. of India entrusted he North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), a joint initiative of the Department of Space and North Eastern Council (NEC) has been roped in to do satellite mapping of border areas to scientifically demarcate the inter state boundaries in the north east India.
The historical boundaries are often geographic features like, rivers, ridges, roads, etc. It has been proven that such natural features can be mapped and monitored spatially as well as temporally. Scientifically, this is a very practical perspective owing to the optimum accuracy of the satellite data. Much of the tussle in the natural boundaries; geographic features such as ridges, rivers and roads will be well monitored and mapping can be done upto cm scale. Theoretically, an inch of land for both the states will brought to justice. If this legacy is maintained, such border disputes between Manipur-Nagaland, Assam-Nagaland, Assam-Manipur can be brought to an amicable solution. However, it is not that simple. It requires best temporal satellite imagery data, skilled personals and above all an unbiased perspective that would be accepted by both the parties.
The scientist community still feels befuddle, that this satellite mapping could engulf the historical perspective. The author is of the opinion that, the real wrangle between the two states is of ancestral issue that has been contentious by the two states. Even though, the mapping would be cent percent true, ground and spot validation is of supreme importance. Spot validation by the locals with authorities and the subject experts will be the need of the hour. Once, a harmonious solution accepted by both the parties uproar in, similar approach can end bigger issues like those in Mao, Dzuko and even in border pillar issues with Myanmar. It will all depend on whether, human conscience accepts the scientific temperament or not. Still feels to say dialogue will prevail above the scientific disposition.
The writer is Senior Geologist, GSI, Imphal Office.

About the Author

Herojit Nongmaithem

Herojit Nongmaithem

Herojit Nongmaithem is a senior Geologist at Geological Survey of India North Eastern Region. He is a regular contributor of Imphal Times and writes articles relating to Geology.
Herojit can be contacted at [email protected]

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