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National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad

NRSA is a Department of Space sponsored organization devoted to the acquisition, processing, and dissemination of remote sensing data. Data is acquired primarily via India's own IRS 1-A and 1B, as well as satellites belonging to other countries, such as USA's Landsat. Whereas the reception and processing facilities are available at NRSA, the development of the sensors and the payloads are developed at ISRO's Satellite Application Center (SAC).

NRSA's scientists are responsible for the corrections to raw data, for example compensating for geometric errors and for errors due to earth's rotation. Further processing is then done to classify and enhance the quality of the data. Some of the work done in image processing, edge and contour detection, surface construction, and compression utilize sophisticated technologies, most of which have been developed in-house.

NRSA's data is used by a number of agencies of the Government of India in the areas of ground water targeting, flood mapping and damage assessment, soil mapping, watershed management, crop estimation, ocean studies, etc., to name just a few. The utility of remote sensing data to a developing country like India has been highly appreciated by policy planners. Many agencies, public as well as private, seek NRSA's help for the acquisition and processing of needed data. An integrated mission for sustainable development has begun to chart out all the details pertaining (to start with) to 136 districts, with the help of NRSA data. The goal is to develop a comprehensive Geographical Information System (GIS) about these districts and subsequently increase the coverage to the rest of India. While most of the data is acquired from satellites, aerial cameras aboard aircrafts are also deployed. Given these multidisciplinary activities, NRSA boasts of application specialists in a wide variety of areas under one roof.

Another activity of NRSA involves the training of a variety of people, from scientists to decision makers, on the use and interpretation of remote sensing. Training is imparted at the Indian Institute for Remote Sensing at Dehradun as well as at various ISRO establishments and educational institutions. The success of the training program is evident from the fact that the syllabus developed by NRSA is being adopted globally.

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