Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was a great visionary, and we are celebrating his Centenary birth anniversary, this year. It was amazing to see, 50 years back, he had planned meticulously various possible remote sensing applications that materialised in the fields of weather and oceans, coastal zone management, geoscience, hydrology, forestry, land use and agriculture and contributed significantly towards national development. Not only that, he had thought about the kinds of sensors, processing and communicating technologies that would be required. He had stressed need for the domain expertise in different disciplines and collaboration with various stakeholders for developing various remote sensing-based products and services and their utilisation. The concept of the National Natural Resources Management System had born out this vision. Such approach has really paid rich dividends. Today, because of such approach, India is in forefront of operational utilisation of remote sensing data and provides weather services for farmers, potential fishery zone advisories to fishermen, accurate and reliable forecast on cyclones and droughts, groundwater targeting for drinking water, condition and status of forest and glaciers, annual forecast of production of major food grains, to name a few. The time is now appropriate to transform this world-class technology into a national system of remote sensing in collaboration with industries to provide operational services to not only users in India, but also all developing countries. Such approach will pave way in translating technology development into innovation for the benefit of all stakeholders. These benefits will help in improving particularly social and economic conditions of developing societies, and is the best way to pay tribute to him. In this article, the vision of Dr. Sarabhai vis-à-vis the status of utilisation of remote sensing in the country has been discussed.
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I am extremely indebted to Dr. George Joseph, ISRO Honorary Professor, who encouraged me to convert my presidential address at IGU into a review article, and for also evaluating the manuscript. My grateful thanks to Dr. A. S. Kiran Kumar, Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor, ISRO, for giving me an opportunity to Chair Vikram Sarabhai Centenary Celebration Committee which led to me to read about Dr. Sarabhai. Shri Pramod Kale, former director, SAC-ISRO, who narrated his early discussions with Dr Sarabhai about remote sensing development in the country, and Dr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, Centre for Environment Education, who provided text of Dr. Sarabhai's presidential address at 8th IGU Annual Convention, are thankfully acknowledged. My sincere gratitude to Dr. V. S. Hegde, Satish Dhawan Professor, ISRO, and Dr. A. Senthil Kumar, Professor, Kongu Engineering College, Erode, for meticulously going through the manuscript and making very useful comments. Thanks are due to Dr. M. Mohapatra, Director General, ESSO-IMD, Dr. E. N. Rajagopal, Director, ESSO-NCMRWF, Dr. M. Ravichandran, Director, ESSO-NCPOR, Dr. P. S. Roy, Hyderabad University, Dr. A. V. Kulkarni, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, IISc, Dr. Prakash Chauhan, Director, IIRS-ISRO, Dr. Raj Kumar, Deputy Director, SAC-ISRO, Dr. Shibendu Ray, Director, MNCFC, and Prof. D. Ramakrishnan, IIT, Bombay, for useful discussions and Ms V. B. Mariyammal, NIAS, for supporting in preparing the manuscript.
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Based on the presidential address delivered at the 55th annual convention, Indian Geophysical Union, Bhopal, 2018.
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Nayak, S. Remote Sensing for National Development: The Legacy of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. J Indian Soc Remote Sens 48, 1101–1120 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12524-020-01156-x
- Remote sensing
- Societal benefits
- National system