Life for many is neatly divided into pre google and post google days. The amount of dependence that one takes from the software giant occasionally makes one feel vulnerable, where there is too much information in too little hands. It is here that one starts looking at alternatives. The Indian Space Research Organisations offers just such an option for maps. It has developed a mapping application called bhuvan, or earth in Sanskrit. The bhuvan map software offers fairly great content that is India Centric. One can use its maps for navigation, map creation and several other functions hitherto done by google. It is not yet in the google league in ergonomics, however in certain areas it offers a better product. Clearly, in rural domain, it combines the government’s ecosystem for agriculture & soils, census, geology & mines, ground water prospects, land use land cover, irrigation, revenue boundary, urban centres etc. As a test case, you can select any state to focus on sections that overlay itself on a map on your laptop. Such an overlay earlier required reference to a several documents and maps which were difficult to obtain. Therefore this is definitely helpful to the local administration and empowers the common man in several ways; the way google did in the commercial realm.
The bhuvan link is here. One has to create a login id for use. Just as any other software only constant use and feedback will eventually make this application better! It doesn’t replace your google maps yet, but if you require local, especially rural information with an overlay of weather, water of cropping domain, this is the goto software! What more- it is Indian. Here and here are some interesting comparisons between google and bhuvan by some netizens. Though this blog began with a comparison with google, after downloading the app on phone, it was felt it was an unfair comparison as both serves two different domains. However, ultimately one wishes that bhuvan will one day be as ubiquitous as google.