Artificial intelligence and satellite imagery detect 1,133 cases of encroachment on defence land


Action has been initiated against 570 out of 1,133 cases of encroachment and unauthorised construction on defence land detected by the Defence Ministry through the use of of artificial intelligence and satellite imagery by the Directorate General Defence Estate (DGDE).

The DGDE’s Centre of Excellence on Satellite & Unmanned Remote Vehicle Initiative (CoE-SURVEI) has developed a software in collaboration with knowledge partner Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) which can automatically detect change on ground, including unauthorised constructions and encroachments in a time series using satellite Imagery, said defence ministry officials.

While action has already been taken in 570 cases, in the remaining 563 cases, wherever legal action was needed, it has been initiated by the Cantonment Boards after changes were detected by the tool which uses National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Cartosat-3 imagery with trained software, said the ministry. The changes are noticed by analysing satellite imagery of different time periods.

The application has been used in 62 cantonments and comparison was done with ground position in recent period. The tool enables Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Cantonment Boards to identify changes on ground that are of permanent nature and also to check if such changes are authorised or done without due sanction of the competent authority, informed the Ministry. It empowers the CEOs to know if action has been taken in time against unauthorised constructions or encroachments and if not, suitable legal action can be rolled out without delay, added the ministry.

Ensuring accountability

The software facilitates better control on unauthorised activities, ensures accountability of field staff and helps in reducing corrupt practices.

With the new initiative helping the Ministry in effective defence land management, efforts are now on to further finetune and upgrade the tools to achieve higher accuracy. The CoE has now partnered with a couple of other reputed organisations for improved AI interface with change detection tool so as to enhance the functionality of change detection software, stated the Ministry. This may specifically benefit DGDE and services in management of defence land located in remote and inhospitable terrains, the ministry observed.

Published on

July 08, 2022

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